Albany Great Dane transfer Jared Verse is now one of America's most sought-after prospects following his entry into the transfer portal on November 30th. He received the email around 8 a.m. informing him that he was in the portal officially, and when he woke up at 11 a.m., he had numerous missed calls, texts, and new social media followers. He discusses the process and the latest in his recruitment with Sports Illustrated All-American.
"It was a scary experience at first because it is jumping into the unknown," Verse said of the experience of entering the transfer portal. "But nothing great ever happens without having a little fear, so I jumped into the portal around like 4 a.m., and I spent all night making my highlight tape, and I actually officially entered around 8 a.m. The next morning when I woke up, I had 30 something missed calls, 50-60 missed texts, and a lot of new updates on Twitter with coaches hitting me up and everything. I woke up overwhelmed, and for a second, I was like, 'oh my gosh, this is the best thing that could happen,' which is true. I called my family and told them I was entering the portal, and they were excited for me. As time went on, it has become more and more overwhelming."
The decision to leave Albany was necessary for Verse's career path, but that did not make it any easier.
"Albany will always be a home to me," Verse said of the decision to leave. "The coaches were amazing to me there, and I can't complain about anything there. It was hard because I knew that I had to do it. It was hard to look at the coaches, the people that really believed in me when no one else did, and tell them that I had to leave and do what was best for me."
Verse knew that when he entered, the possibility to see a recruiting surge was there, but he never imagined that it would reach this level and intensity.
"Definitely throughout the season, making highlights was never my big idea, but when you work hard and everything like that, highlights do come out of it," he said. "So at the end of the season, I put it together and realized it was actually a pretty good tape. So, when I did post it and everything, I kind of knew it would blow up but not to this magnitude."
The process is very new for Verse, but he relied on his instincts and family to quickly start navigating the transfer portal recruiting world.
"For the first couple of days, it was hard to weigh out anybody," Verse said on this. "You want to keep your options heavy, but as time went on, I am on a crunched schedule because I want to be at my new school by the spring, January, so I did have to cut it down a bit and just tell coaches, 'I am sorry, but I do not have the most interest in this school. Thank you for taking an interest and coming to see me.' It was hard because people take time out of their day to come and see you or communicate with you, so to tell them that is tough, but this is a business at the end of the day. With cutting down, I had my family help me, and my mom was a huge help. She did a pros and cons listing of each school, and sometimes my decisions went against hers, but she knows I'll make the best decision for myself."
The first trip for the CAA Defensive Rookie of the year was not far from his hometown of Berwick (Pa.), as he spent time with Dino Baber's Syracuse program.
"It was definitely an amazing trip," Verse said of his time at Syracuse. "Got to sit down with the coaches and talk about their 3-3-5 defense. I did have questions about that because I have never been in a three-front defense, so getting to understand how it works was nice. I did have a little fun while I was there since they showed me around the campus and everything like that. I got to see the facilities and everything. It was top-notch."
After winding up the trip in New York, Verse headed South and will proceed to take a bevy of visits in the coming days.
"Currently, I am at Houston right now," Verse told Sports Illustrated on Wednesday night. "Then, I plan on making a visit to Florida State, Tennessee, and Purdue. I am going to Florida State tomorrow, Tennessee on Saturday, then Purdue on Sunday."
Verse is enjoying his time in Houston around the AAC program, which is coming off an impressive 2021 regular season.
"It is an amazing time here. Houston is a beautiful city," Verse said about his time with Dana Holgorsen's program. "I got to see the facilities and they are amazing and some of the best I have ever seen. Beforehand, I got to talk to the coaches on the phone and FaceTime them and everything to get to know them. Houston had a successful season last season, 11-2, and the coaches are losing a couple of pieces here, and talking to them about what my fit would be definitely piqued my interest while I was here.
Florida State is the next school up, and he has been able to enjoy the message from Mike Norvell's staff so far.
"I've been able to contact a bunch of coaches from every school I've talked to, but with Florida State, I got to talk to them about their defense. They did have two top-notch guys that just left to go to the NFL; Jermaine Johnson and Keir (Thomas) are both leaving. Two amazing guys and that is a position they have to fill. I got to talk to them about that the schemes they run, and the upcoming schedule. The main thing I do want to see is facilities and, I do want to sit down with the coaches and talk to them and get to know them better."
Tennessee will get the next crack following Florida State.
"In the short time I get to spend with them, I do want to catch a practice or workout," Verse said. "I want to see the facilities and everything like that. I want to sit down with the coaches too, while it is a crunch for time, I won't get to see everything, but I will get to see enough to make a solid decision out of that. There is nothing crazy I want to see or anything like that. I really just want to talk with the coaches and see the facilities, all that kind of stuff."
The Volunteers staff are selling the Albany transfer on how versatile of an edge prospect he could be in their scheme.
"That has been the biggest piece of it," Verse said of the message from Tennessee. "They see me working on both sides because you can't be one-dimensional at any level of football, whether it be D3, D2, D1, you can't be one-dimensional. I have talked to them about working different positions, working hand in the dirt, standing up; we have talked about it all."
Jeff Brohm's program has also caught the interest of the six-foot-four, 250lbs standout, and he wants to make sure he gives them a look.
"Nothing really different from the others," Verse said of the message from Jeff Brohm's staff. "I got to talk to a couple of the coaches about football, school, my family, and how I could fit into their program and become a part of their family. It has all been a lot to take in, but I do feel like they are a special place I need to go check out before the traveling deadline ends."
As Verse quickly takes a look at each contender, he is using notes and pros and cons lists to make his college decision.
"I have been taking notes on each visit," Verse said of how he is working through the contenders. " I have been weighing out pros and cons and trying to figure out what I like about each school. All of these schools are amazing, and there have not been many cons, if I have wrote any at all, so I have to start getting on that. Ultimately, what it will come down to is, all of these schools have amazing coaches, every school has players that are amazing, but who can help me get my shot and become the best player that I can be—being able to help a program get to that next level. Not just go to a bowl game but help a team battle for a national championship. That is the ultimate goal."
Whenever the time comes, he knows what a program will get in him as a player.
"Someone that doesn't give up," Verse said when asked. "My parents have raised me the right way. The one thing I cannot do is give up. Whether we are down 60-0 or up 100-0, I won't give up. I will hustle hard. I am strong and fast, and I like to think my football IQ is hard. You cannot get me to give up, and I feel like that rubs off on the people I am around. If your head is down, I will grab you by the chin and say, 'lookup, we don't look at the ground.' I am one of those people that giving up is not in my nature, and I feel like that translates to the football field, the weight room putting in work, or even in the film room with the coaches. I will talk to coaches to figure out what I am doing wrong and fix it to get to that next level."