Shawnee senior signs with University of Oregon

Shawnee High School senior Jake Pisarcik will be one of 19 recruits to play football for the University of Oregon’s new head coach Mark Helfrich next season.

Helfrich will take on the new role after former head coach Chip Kelly made the transition as the Philadelphia Eagles head coach in the beginning of 2013.

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Pisarcik submitted a highlight reel to the program for consideration.

“We watched him on video and liked what we saw as far as his athleticism,” University of Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood said.

Oregon was Pisarcik’s first choice of schools, and he hadn’t considered playing for any programs until Oregon made its full-ride scholarship offer.

“I’m very excited to be playing for them next year,” Pisarcik said.

In early December, Oregon’s recruiting coordinator traveled to Medford. In early December, Pisarcik spoke with Greatwood about the opportunity.

According to Greatwood, the coaching staff did their research on Pisarcik. They learned about the kind of person he is through his coaches, peers and family members.

“We do pretty extensive research on the young men we bring in,” Greatwood said. “We want to make sure the players fit our program.”

By Dec. 18, Pisarcik had verbally committed to the Ducks.

“The University of Oregon has always been my dream school,” Pisarcik said. “I always liked their style of play. They’re always exciting and they’re enjoyable to watch, which really turned me on to them.”

It wasn’t until after Oregon had made its offer that other schools, including Penn State, Kent State and Temple University, showed interest in Pisarcik.

“We’re excited to get Jake involved in our program. He comes from a really good program at Shawnee High School,” Greatwood said. “I think he’s got a great future in front of him.”

Oregon finished last season ranked №2 in the nation, following its 35–17 victory over Kansas State at the Fiesta Bowl in January.

According to the University of Oregon, the №2 ranking marks the fourth top five finish in the school’s history and the sixth time the Ducks have ended the season in the top 10. Since 2008, the only time Oregon finished outside the top 10 was 2009, when Chip Kelly’s first team was pegged 11th after falling in the 2010 Rose Bowl Game to Ohio State. Oregon has been ranked in 60 straight AP Top 25 polls, including the last 28 in the top 10.

During Kelly’s four-year tenure, the Ducks were ranked among the top 10 schools 49 times by the AP.

Pisarcik will travel to Oregon in June for a bridge program Oregon hosts for incoming freshmen. Students take two classes and are integrated into the strength and conditioning program, according to Greatwood. Camp will be held in late summer.

Following camp, the coaching staff may make the decision to “red shirt,” or have Pisarcik sit for a season and stay another year in school while maintaining NCAA eligibility.

“If I’m red shirted and I get another year of practice, I’m still happy,” Pisarcik said.

His return home will be dependent on if Oregon can qualify for another bowl game, a chance he’s hopeful for.

Currently, he isn’t nervous for the transition as a high school athlete to a college athlete.

“I think the staff at Oregon and the coaches here [at Shawnee] and the trainers will definitely get me ready,” Pisarcik, the future business finance major, said. “When I get there I think I’ll be comfortable with balancing both [school and football]. It will be challenging but I need to stay focused.”

Student athletes are offered a study hall and tutoring during the week to assist with academic needs.

Despite the promise of the upcoming season, Pisarcik is remaining focused on the road to graduation.

“I want to keep my grades up and end the year really strong to keep my transcript good,” Pisarcik said. “It’s been a great experience. My parents, coaches and friends have been really supportive. They’ve made this whole process a lot easier.”

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