Nov 2, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; Colorado Buffaloes tailback Christian Powell (46) is tackled by UCLA Bruins safety Myles Jack (30) at Rose Bowl. UCLA defeated Colorado 45-23. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Myles Away from Home
Before assessing at what Jack has done and looking forward to this season, it’s helpful to know the path that brought him to UCLA. Most of the following is pulled from an excellent profile that former UCLA beat writer Ryan Kartje wrote up in the OC Register last November. Click through and read the whole thing, particularly towards the end about his friendship with Budda Baker.
Jack grew up a quiet but preternaturally talented kid in Gwinnett County, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta. He excelled in peewee football, primarily at running back. He was known as a gifted athlete, a hard worker, and smart player. As a third-grader, he was coaching his teammates on other players’ tendencies, and he ran tackling drills in his parents’ basement.
Just before high school, Jack moved with his mother to Bellevue, Washington. Quiet and unknown in the local coaching circles, Jack struggled to make an impact at running back. But before his junior year he grew four inches and put on some muscle. He came back to school with a frame to match his athleticism.
Now deemed too big to play running back, he was moved to linebacker, and he fell in love with playing on the defensive side of the ball. Jack’s natural ability, his body, his football acumen, and his work ethic all combined again to make him stand out among his peers.
When the college recruiters came calling, teams like South Carolina and Georgia all tried to sell Jack on the idea of moving back to running back at the college level. Only Washington and UCLA recruited Jack as a defensive player. Ultimately, then-linebackers coach and Jack’s primary recruiter, Jeff Ulbrich, prevailed, selling Jack on Jim Mora‘s transformation of UCLA’s defensive identity and on the trajectory of the program.
Next: Have you seen this freshman kid from UCLA?