The 6-4 275-pound Jake Sheffield prepped at Gateway High School in Aurora, Colo. and graduated from there in 2005. He enlisted with the Marine Corps straight out of high school, and served two tours of duty in Iraq. His football talents were discovered by chance by his current junior college coaches.
“I was stationed here at Camp Pendleton and right before I got out of the Marine Corps I was playing tackle football on the base,” Sheffield recalled. “One of the coaches from the College of the Desert saw me play and wanted me to come and play for them. So I joined the team last year.
Sheffield was recruited by Arizona State cornerbacks coach Greg Burns who noticed him during the spring evaluation period. He was invited for an unofficial visit to Tempe, which he took a couple of weeks ago and naturally that experience was an extremely positive one.
“I really liked the coaching staff because they were all down to earth and I enjoyed the visit,” Sheffield said. “Location was a big deal for me and I liked that. I have my son here in California and it’s nice that it was just a couple of hours drive so I could see him on the weekends. I knew the facilities were going to be nice before I visited but I was still shocked when I saw them.
“Arizona State just seems like a good place to play football and get your education too. Even though I really liked the visit I took my time to talk things over with my family and my girlfriend and I decided that this was the best place for me so I committed to them.”
The defensive tackle reported weight room marks of 365 lbs. benching and 305 on the power clean. Sheffield remarked that his versatility is one aspect that appealed to Sun Devil defensive line coach Scott Brown.
“We play a 3-4 defense here and I play at defensive end,” Sheffield stated. “Coach Brown said that he likes me at a three-technique defensive tackle because they play a 4-3 at Arizona State. He also told me that he could tell I have a great passion for the sport and he loved my intensity. I know I’m a hard working player that just loves the game.
“Coach said I could come in and make an immediate impact. He said that he looks forward to coaching me and because he’s an honest guy, very passionate and cares for his players I think I’m really going to enjoy playing for him.”
Sheffield, who will turn 25 in November admitted that his maturity, as well as his military experience has helped him excel playing football at the junior college level and can also aid him once he arrives at ASU.
“I’m the type of person that is very committed to what I do,” Sheffield explained. “Obviously coming from the Marines I’m very disciplined and know the value of teamwork. So, that is the type of stuff that I can bring to the football field.”
Sheffield is scheduled to graduate in December and can sign with ASU as a mid-year transfer. The defensive tackle was also offered by Indiana and was being pursued by Oregon State, Hawaii, UNLV and Iowa State.