Lake Highlands High’s Jakson Thomson signed his letter of intent this morning accepting a full scholarship to play at Louisiana Tech University. If he plays quarterback as planned, he’ll be the first Wildcat alum to play QB at a Division I school since Sean Stilley helmed the TCU Horned Frogs in 2002, and the first to QB at LA Tech since Matt Dunigan from 1979–82.
Thomson was recruited by Tulane, Syracuse, New Mexico State, Florida Atlantic and Akron, but Coach Lonnie Jordan says LA Tech is “a beautiful fit.”
“Their coaching staff is high on Jakson,” Jordan told a crowd of Thomson’s teammates, teachers, coaches and family, including his great-grandmother and four siblings. “Since Jakson was a little guy all the way through high school, his work ethic has been incredible, and God has blessed him with talent and a supportive family. It paid off for him.”
Jakson had 422 completions, the most in school history, 51 passing touchdowns, the most in school history and 5,813 yards passing. He was twice named District MVP.
“He’s a pocket passer, and he can make any throw on the field,” said offensive line coach Jimmy Tackett. “He’s the best pure thrower I think I’ve ever seen in my 11 years at Lake Highlands. He’s sneaky-fast, he’s really long-strided, he’s reluctant to run, but when he does, he’s really effective. With his teammates, he’s the most confident guy in the room. He thinks he can get it done on any play, and he breathes into other kids, too.”
His teammates agree.
“He’s a great athlete, and he’s a great voice in the locker room encouraging others,” noted Will Haskins. “He’s a smart football player, extremely good at reading defenses and making the right decisions.”
Jonathan Barrows, arguably Thomson’s favorite receiver, has known him longer than anyone else on the team. They began going to North Highlands Bible Church together in preschool, and started playing SVAA football in 4th grade. Even when Jono took 5th grade off to focus on soccer, their friendship remained strong.
“Jakson is very good at reading coverages and getting the ball where it needs to be. He’s got a huge arm, and he can put it anywhere he wants.”
Not surprisingly, the proudest folks in the room were his parents.
“We knew Jakson had this potential,” said Christy, his mom. “Jakson has loved football since he was a little boy.”
Jakson was home-schooled until 6th grade, and his father, Dane, coached his SVAA team. At home, they’ve taken in a succession of foster children and Jakson’s teammates in need of support over the years.
“Jakson has a big heart,” Christy told me. “It’s been a lot of fun to watch him grow.”
Thomson, who’s graduating in December, said he’s ready to go.
“I’m just excited to get down there.”
I asked which college or pro QB he most resembles.
“Right now, people are comparing me to [Kansas City Chiefs QB and Texas Tech alum] Patrick Mahomes. He’s a gun slinger type, and he can move around in the pocket really well and throw the ball down the field.”
Everyone I spoke to about Thomson, from coaches to teammates to family, noted his confidence. I asked if it’s real — and where it comes from.
“Confidence comes from repetition,” Thomson told me. “[The LA Tech] coaches saw the confidence and leadership ability I have — it’s not cocky — it’s knowing I can do it.”
Originally published at lakehighlands.advocatemag.com on December 19, 2018.