Overview: Dartez Jacobs is a versatile player who displays good balls skills and is a great athlete. He recently had the opportunity to play in a Chinese New Years bowl game in Shenzhen, China. He was named MVP after he had an interception, two touchdowns, two pass break ups, and one forced fumble.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dartez, during which time he told me more about his background, his personality and his overall love for football.
C: You have mentioned that you recently played in a Chinese New Years bowl game in Shenzhen, China? What was that experience like?
DJ: Yes, I had a unique opportunity to play in the 1st China New Years bowl game. I never would’ve imagined the game of football taking me across the world, but I’m forever grateful. My experience may have been different from the other American players/coaches. I bonded with the people of Shenzhen and still speak with a few of them since I’ve been back in the States. The culture there is completely different; their social norms don’t align with those of Americans. They express love and emotion without second guessing if society will accept it or not. The fact that their government regulates internet use by blocking social media may play a part in this…
In Shenzhen, China everyone is working. Everyone has a trade of some sort that they utilize to support their families. Whether it’s selling sugar cane juice, creating iPhone parts/accessories, or running a factory, their work ethic was obvious and understood. They inspired me to push the limits, to give everything for my family & for myself. Although I was awarded MVP of the bowl game, I came away from this experience with so much more. I made a positive impact in a part of the world that truly needed it. They’ve requested I come back for future projects as a coach when I’ve finished my career. I’m looking forward to it.
C: What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
DJ: I’m a complete player, on & off the field. My size combined with an aggressive playing style is apparent on film. I have great ball skills; you will always see me around the ball, taking advantage of any chance to create a turnover. My versatility has always made me more appealing to teams. They can play me on the outside, in the slot, as a middle field player, or even in the box.
Weakness wise I’ve been working on reading routes better by the release of the wr. Getting a better feel for when a route will break and better body control when the ball is in the air has also been my focus. As a DB you can’t get enough of fundamentals, so I also work to improve my breaks at the top of routes and playing through the hands.
C: What separates you from the other players at your position?
DJ: I take self-accountability when it comes to everything. I play with a sense of urgency at maximum effort. I have a high ceiling, and my work ethic is going to make me a next level player. I have what I call a “No Flinch mentality”. I’ve been through a lot of adversity, and I’m able to persevere in any situation.
C: What has been your biggest accomplishment during your football career?
DJ: Signing a D1 FBS scholarship coming out of Juco.
C: Which current or former NFL player do you think you resemble and why?
DJ: My playing style most resembles that of Kenny Vaccaro & Pierre Desir. I’m a versatile defensive back; having played in an NFL defense in college I was used in different packages. I played every position in the secondary throughout my college career and was a special team’s threat on coverage units. My length and athleticism as a defensive back is what I use to my advantage.
C: How have you been training this offseason?
DJ: I train here in Atlanta with @LilyDSAtraining. Offseason training is in full swing right now. I’m working on every aspect of my game. Speed and change of direction are a main focus. It has been going well; I’m more fluid in my progressions as a DB due to training with Lily.
C: What can you bring to a professional football team?
DJ: I have a genuine passion for the game. I’m comfortable being uncomfortable, and the grind is what’s appealing to me because people don’t see the work that goes in behind closed doors. I trust the process and believe in myself. I’ve been a team captain in HS and College, this can attest to my accountability and the leadership qualities I bring to the table. I know what it takes.
C: How do you prepare for game day? Do you have any game day rituals?
DJ: I don’t have any rituals. I do visualize myself making plays constantly. I put myself in position to execute and make plays on the ball. I’m a visual person, and normally whatever I see in my mind will translate to the field on game day.
C: What is the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you in your football career?
DJ: A former defensive coach @ GSU pulled me to the side after practice my junior year. Coach reassured me that the work I put in wasn’t going unnoticed and that I was an asset to the team. He said I was a cerebral guy and that if he could recruit a roster filled with guys like me he would …this meant a lot to me. He was the last guy I’d think to say something of the sort, but he meant what he said and I will never forget that conversation. I don’t rely on external motivation much, but I was definitely fueled to keep working from his positive remarks.
C: What should people reading this interview know about you?
DJ: I give 100% in everything I do. I’m not saving anything. I understand that there are no limitations to my goals and aspirations. I’m unconventional in every aspect. I don’t want it just as much as the next man, I want it more. Why me?..Why not me?
Locker Room Update would like to thank Dartez Jacobs for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him the best of luck as he continues his journey as a professional football player.
You can check out his China New Years Bowl highlights here.
Christa is a syndicated New York Jets beat writer and acts as the primary talent scout for Locker Room Update, where she interviews college football players from around the nation. You can follow her author page on Facebook here for the latest updates.