Posted: 11:01 am Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Football or basketball? Jacoby Brissett still can’t decide 

By Jason Lieser

Dwyer junior Jacoby Brissett is beginning to accept the probability that he will have to choose between playing football or basketball in college. But even though reality is setting in, he thinks he will need another year to pick a sport.

“I know it’s happening, but I don’t have to choose now, so I won’t,” he said.

Brissett

Brissett

In fact, Brissett said he does not think he will be ready to finalize his plans by next February’s national signing day.

The only near certainty is that he will not be able to play both sports. There remains a small part of him that wants to try it, but his football and basketball coaches at Dwyer believe it is very unlikely.

It’s going to make his football recruitment interesting.

Brissett is the area’s top quarterback prospect in the upcoming senior class and already has offers from several schools, including Florida State, West Virginia, Boston College and Wisconsin. (Miami, South Carolina, Xavier, Clemson and others have offered basketball scholarships).

He is being considered for the Steve Clarkson Super 7 program, which honors the top seven quarterbacks in the nation. He’ll get an audition for that April 10 at the Citrus Bowl. For some context on what that means, here are some of the recent alumni: Terrelle Pryor, Matt Barkley, Jimmy Clausen.
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Jacoby Brissett, 2009-10
Football (QB) 62.4% comp. 1,463 yds 19 TDs 5 INTs
Basketball (G/F) 42.0% FGs 15.2 ppg 7.5 rpb 3.4 apg

The issue for Brissett (6-5, 225) is that quarterbacks typically commit early. Colleges want every kid to commit early, but there is a premium on quarterbacks doing so because schools sign a limited number of prospects at that position, usually one or two.

Last year’s top two quarterbacks — Atlantic’s Mark Leal and Boca Raton’s Eddie Sullivan — committed before the season started. Leal picked Virginia Tech in May and Sullivan committed to Wake Forest in August (though he later switched to Marshall).

Contractually, college commitments mean nothing, but there is usually an underlying understanding that quarterbacks are locked in when they give their word. Sullivan’s case was an exception in part because Wake Forest wanted him to gray shirt.

With Brissett, football programs are going to want a commitment by the end of May, at the latest. While he says he doesn’t plan to commit anywhere until he signs, he is smart enough to know that he might not be able to wait that long.

“I just don’t know yet,” he said. “I’ll take my time. If the time comes to where I have to commit, I’ll commit.

“I’ve been thinking about it a little bit, but I haven’t really made my decision. I don’t know yet.”

But, again, any college that receives that commitment needs to remember that a commitment from him could be tenuous. If he later decides to follow his first love, basketball, somebody is going to need a new quarterback signee.

In basketball, there are similar factors that make Brissett a unique recruit. It is nearly unfathomable that he would sign in November’s early signing period, which is what schools are going to want him to do.

The best bet is that he goes for football. Basketball has been his lifelong passion, but there seems to be a higher ceiling for him in football and the influential adults in his life see that. The one thing that could sway him would be if a major basketball power like North Carolina or Kentucky started recruiting him.

The elite talents have the leverage to make schools wait and Brissett appears to have that on his side. He will also need to be patient, though, and withstand a barrage of persuasion from highly paid salesmen.