PROVO — Junior college transfers often carry high expectations in regard to providing immediate contributions, and BYU signee Jacques Wilson is no exception.
Wilson is a 5-foot-11, 170-pound cornerback from West Los Angeles College who will enter the Cougars’ program with two years of eligibility to contribute to a relatively deep cornerback group. In years past, junior college cornerbacks at BYU would be met with little competition for spots on the two-deep chart, but that won’t be this season.
Options to fill out the two-deep at cornerback include experienced players such as Chris Wilcox, DeAngelo Mandell, Isaiah Herron, Shamon Willis and converted linebacker Zayne Anderson, along with Keenan Ellis and Dmitri Gallow, among others.
So will Wilson’s name be listed on the two-deep roster come the start of the 2020 season?
We sat down with former BYU cornerback Ben Criddle to review Wilson’s film and to assess his chances of providing an immediate contribution. Criddle also hosts the radio program “Cougar Sports with Ben Criddle” on ESPN960.
What are your overall impressions of Jacques Wilson?
“I love that his first clip on his film isn’t an interception, but a forced fumble he causes by being aggressive, and then he’s able to recover that same fumble. That impresses me and it shows the type of mentality he has and how physical he can be. I love that.
“And his stats show that wasn’t just a fluke play, because he had four forced fumbles, which I absolutely love from someone playing cornerback. He also had nine interceptions, and yeah, he was very productive playing in junior college.
What other aspects of his film stand out?
“He shows good hips. He’s fluid. I also like how he flows to the football and he shows a good sense on how to keep his eyes on the quarterback while also keeping eyes on his coverage assignment, when he’s in zone coverage. He shows good balance.
“When he’s in man coverage he shows the ability to get in control of the route and then turning into the receiver and squeezing him toward the sidelines. He shows good technique — the type of advanced technique you’d expect from a JUCO player.
“He’s also patient. He doesn’t open the gate and waits to open his hips because he understands what’s coming at him and he trusts his ability to catch up. He also shows swagger, confidence and personality. Fans will love that.”
Which former BYU player does he remind you of?
“The comparison I see is with Jordan Johnson. Jordan saw early success before injuries derailed his career. But I see similar athleticism and size between the two.
“I think Jordan was probably more explosive with his quickness, but I think Jacques’ top-end speed is better than Jordan’s. Both are stout players who like play physical, so yeah, that’s the comparison I see.”
Can he see immediate contributions?
“I think he can definitely crack the two-deep roster and play immediately, based on what I’ve seen on film and what I know about him. Otherwise, it’s not going to be easy, just because of the depth already there, but he looks to be a guy ready to play immediately.
“A lot of his ability to contribute immediately will depend on how coaches plan to play their corners. You have a guy like Zayne Anderson switch, which is real interesting to me, with regards to how differently corners may be employed. But should Zayne play more at safety, and it’s largely the same coverages as last year, then I like Jacques’ chances to break the two-deep and play immediately.”