LOS ANGELES - Typically, the Elite 11 Finals are meant to showcase the top quarterback talents across the country.
And while that did remain the case this week, one pass-catcher was also able to stand out amongst the crowd: fast-rising Red Mountain (Mesa, AZ) wide receiver Ja'Kobi Lane.
Lane took home the camp's MVP award for pass-catchers, beating out some of the top recruits on the west coast in the process.
“I brought home the MVP and put on for Arizona," Lane told LonghornsCountry.com of his performance. "Really doing what I do best is catching the rock. I enjoy the game of football more than I do anything else. Anytime I get a chance to catch the rock I overemphasize every little thing. I love to look the ball in all the way to the tuck. I overemphasize the little things so when it comes to the big things it becomes natural and easy.”
As it stands right now, Lane has been in contact with a bevy of top programs including Georgia and Tennessee. He also got a new offer this week from Auburn, in addition to standing offers from Kansas State, Iowa State, Arizona, Arizona State, Kansas State and Colorado.
That should come as no surprise either.
At the varsity level Lane has exploded onto the scene, making 79 catches for 1,024 yards and 15 touchdowns in just 15 games. And as a result of his performance in the finals, along with his domination of the 7-on-7 circuit as of late, Lane's exposure is likely to increase even more over the coming weeks.
However, there are a few programs that Lane is hoping to hear from in the near future that he described as potential "game-changers", including the Texas Longhorns.
“Texas for sure," Lane said. "Texas A&M, UCLA, Oregon too. I am in contact a bit with those schools, but I haven’t gotten to that point as far as offer-wise. I can’t say I need the offers every day, but working every day will pay off in the end. Whatever school I get to I know I will work hard.”
Lane glowed particularly bright with talking about the Longhorns, however, noting how impressed he was with the culture of the program, and his relationship with Longhorns star Bijan Robinson in particular as factors.
“The environment, the way they treat their players," Lane said. "I know Bijan (Robinson). He played for the 7-on-7 program I’m in. But just knowing they treat their players well and with respect. It’s a really good place where you can get better, develop in the receiver aspect, as a man and grow as a person.”
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The 6-5, 180-pounder was also very complimentary of Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian, who has helped turn the Longhorns program into a recruiting power as of late.
But more importantly, at least to Lane, is that Sark has also rebuilt the culture and accountability to create an environment in Austin in which, given the opportunity, he feels he can thrive.
“Coach Sark is a great guy. I know he’s passionate about the game of football, I know if a player is not doing what he is supposed to he will get on them, but it’s not out of anger it’s not out of hate it’s trying to get them better. That little bit of structure will go a long way with anybody. I think with how coachable I am, anything he would say, I would just take it in. Anything he would say wouldn’t be told twice, I could just capitalize on anything.”
As for a decision timeline, Lane is certainly not in a hurry. He wants to take his time and make sure he makes the right move.
However, he did admit that if a school such as Texas began to make him a priority, that decision timeline could be accelerated.
"I would like to make a decision before this fall season starts but if that doesn’t happen I am not stressing it. I know the school I pick will respect the time I take to make my decision and they wouldn’t rush me. I'm not really pushing to make a decision but if a school came on and really showed love and support, I wouldn’t second guess my decision.”
Until then, he plans to continue to hone his craft; particularly on the mental side of the game, where, despite his immense athletic talents, he believes his strong suits really begin to shine through.
“As a receiver, I’m more of a mental guy and student of the game," Lane said. "I will go in and watch film with quarterbacks because everyone knows you can catch the ball. But when it comes to route running and getting open a lot more that factors into catching the rock”
You can follow Matt Galatzan on Twitter @MattGalatzan
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