Scottsdale Saguaro offensive lineman Jax Wacaser, whose recruiting took off during his senior season after experiencing a big growth spurt, has committed to UCLA.
Since his junior season when he was 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Wacaser grew to 6-5, 260 before his senior year, possessing what coach Jason Mohns called “a big-time nasty streak.”
“He really matured a ton,” Mohns said. “He’s got the most impressive senior offensive line film I’ve seen in a long time. He finishes blocks. He’s got a big-time nasty streak. He’s got a great frame. He’s not a finished product yet. His dad is 6-7. Jax is still young. He’s got that baby face.”
Arizona State did not offer a scholarship to Wacaser, Mohns said, because the Sun Devils are holding out for Phoenix North Canyon senior Austin Jackson, azcentral sports’ No. 1 2017 football recruit. Jackson, who played in last week’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl, is considering ASU, USC and Washington.
Wacaser picked up several offers from major colleges after his mid-season senior highlights came out. One of those was from Arizona. Mohns said that former Scottsdale Chaparral coach Charlie Ragle, an assistant at UA, compared Wacaser to former Chaparral tackle Taylor Lewan, who went on to play at Michigan and is now playing in the NFL after being a 2014 first-round pick by the Tennessee Titans.
“He’s got that kind of frame and athleticism,” Mohns said.
Utah and Vanderbilt were in Wacaser’s final three, but he was intrigued by UCLA’s engineering program. Michael Wacaser, Jax’s dad, said UCLA coach Jim Mora was the only head coach who did an in-home visit “and that really impressed all of us.”
“UCLA’s engineering program is ranked No. 18 in the U.S. and that was also a big factor,” Michael said. “UCLA is also close enough that we do not have to get on a plane to go see him. All huge positives for us.”
Wacaser becomes the fourth Saguaro player from this senior class to commit to a Pac-12 school.
Offensive lineman Corey Stephens, tight end Jared Poplawski and defensive end/outside linebacker Kyle Soelle all committed to ASU at the same time last summer.
Saguaro defensive back K.J. Jarrell, who also played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, will make his college decision on Feb. 1, national signing day, Mohns said.
Mohns said that coaches from both UCLA and Washington will be at Saguaro this week to see senior offensive guard Sean Seawards, 6-3, 320 pounds, who recently received an offer from Boise State.
Seawards, who transferred last spring from Anthem Boulder Creek, made the move from defense to offense under Mohns this past season, and emerged with the help of Wacaser and Stephens.
“He had played defense only prior to Saguaro,” Mohns said. “I took one look at him and said, ‘Sean, I think you’re a Division I offensive guard.’ It really worked out well with him being with Stephens and Wacaser. They’re good offensive linemen who took them under their wing. He picked it up quickly.
“He carries his weight well. He’s got special feet and flexibility. He plays with a low center of mass.”
Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at email@example.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at azc_obert