Q&A with UTEP Quarterback Signee Jakolby Longino
Among the 10 new UTEP signees, along with the five preferred walk-ons that were inked on National Signing Day, stands Jakolby Longino, a 3-star dual-threat quarterback that will take his talents to El Paso.
He's a 6-foot-2 prospect that held offers from the likes of Austin Peay, Lamar and Texas Southern. It didn't matter which offers he was earning though. Longino had his eyes set on becoming a Miner since the summer.
Check out the full conversation from the Q&A session:
Congrats again on signing at UTEP, Jakolby. How was your signing day experience?
"It was good and I'm just so grateful. I can't wait to get down there and get to work."
There are a lot of Miner fans that get excited about a new quarterback and rightfully so because they're the leader of the team. Dana Dimel raved about your leadership qualities. What leadership attributes do you bring to the table?
"I play football with a lot of energy. There probably won't ever be a dull moment with me. I'll be running around, jumping around. If a good play happens, I'll be jumping around with my teammates. I'll always be there to celebrate with them and tell them to keep going. On defense, I'm right there with them. I just like having fun and when you play football and have fun, that's when good things happen."
You were one of the first UTEP recruits that committed to UTEP back in the summer. We've seen that happen before in previous signing classes, but at times, players will tail off or decommit. What was it about UTEP that urged you to maintain the commitment and sign with the Miners?
"Honestly, UTEP was one of the first schools to believe in me. Austin Peavy offered me and UTEP offered me a week later. I had been talking to UTEP since coach Dimel and coach Canales spoke to me a month before offering me. Coach Dimel doesn't offer anyone, he offers people he trusts. They were the first people to believe in me. Me and my parents talked about it and there wasn't a school out there that I felt was better. I can get everything at [UTEP]. I can get a degree there, I can go to the NFL from there, meet friends for life."
You know what you can also be? Possibly the first Miner left-handed quarterback in the last several decades.
Growing up left-handed, my idol was Michael Vick. When you're left-handed, everything is backwards to everybody. When you do a drill, when you write in class, everything you do is backwards. That's the only thing about being a lefty."
You're a 3-star prospect by 247 Sports. Do stars mean anything to you?
"No. It's cool but I don't really pay attention to it. Patrick Mahomes was a 3-star, Russell Wilson was a 2-star. All of those guys that were 4-stars or better aren't better than them now. Once you get into college and develop, everybody peaks at different parts of their lives."
In a pandemic-altered year, how was it managing the COVID-19 pandemic, going through your senior year and still senior quarterback at Hightower?
"With the pandemic going on, the community hurting, I felt like as a quarterback, I needed to be that leader in the community with my teammates and my coaches. Every time we went on that field, we played our hearts out for the community. Helping out, talking to little kids, everyone that needed help, we were there."
Who do I need to talk to at 247 Sports about you being listed as a "pro" style quarterback? Not only did you throw for over 2,000 passing yards and 21 passing touchdowns during your senior year, but you also rushed for 500-plus yards.
"I don't know, I guess they didn't check my numbers during my senior year. My junior year, I was more of a pocket passer. In the offseason, I worked on my speed, accuracy on deep balls and everybody saw it on the field. If there was a play to be made, I can make it with my arms or with my legs. My two favorite players are Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. They both can run it, both can throw very well. Me, I try to model my game off those guys."
What are some other intangibles that you bring?
"Honestly, energy. I bring a lot of energy. I'm very humble. I don't get too high, don't get too low. That was one of the things that my parents instilled in me. I'm going to stay humble and stay grateful. I was watching a video with Jordan Palmer talking about how tough the El Paso community is.
That's how the Hightower community is. We kind of had a dropoff this year. At Hightower, we were 3-8. We haven't had a playoff run since 2013. My senior year, we went to the third round of the playoffs and lost to Manvell. That was a deep run for us and we weren't used to that. We had one of the highest-scoring offenses. We broke the all-time scoring record three times this year. We put up 65 points, 63, and 62 points. So we were a high scoring offense that averaged 40 points per game. Hightower hadn't seen that since 2010 when they went to state with Bralon Addison. I plan on getting down there, learning the plays and making the others around me better because I know they're going to make me better."
You mention Jordan Palmer. What other things interest you about this UTEP program?
"3-5 (record) doesn't show how good of a team we are. Every game we lost minus the UT game, we were in those games. We were in the North Texas game with Gavin not playing because he had COVID, and Calvin did a phenomenal job. UTSA, we were in that game. LA Tech, we were in that game. And not being able to play for three weeks because of corona, that makes it hard because everyone is playing and we're just getting rusty. When we dusted off the rust, we could get back to winning but honestly, I can't wait to get down there and join the team."
Are you an Aaron Jones fan?
"Extremely. He and Alvin Kamara."
You mention Gavin and Calvin by first name. One thing that needs to be addressed is the fact that you might need some patience waiting behind the starters and current players before your name is called. How do you go about that?
"Honestly, I'm ready to get down there and learn from [Gavin]. He does a lot of things right and our playing styles are not as similar, but Deshaun Watson is still watching Tom Brady to see what he does. Even though the playing style is different, to me, [Gavin] has an extremely good arm. Calvin is really good too. It was third and long and he broke a long run. I'm going to come in there, learn from those guys and work my butt off to be ready to play once my time comes."
Why was it UTEP for you? I know you mentioned they believed in you first. What impacted the decision most when you made the choice to sign at UTEP?
"It was the coaches for me. I probably texted coach Canales 2-3 times per week. He was always staying on me. I talk to coach Nealy a lot too. We've been texting a ton recently. We text every day. The coaches just stay on me and I always talk to them. They believed in me. They would call me before my games and I'm just so excited to get there and meet everybody."
Have you ever been to El Paso?
"No, I have not. I plan on coming down during spring break. I'm from Houston, so I'm a city boy. I love to eat and I love to shop. Probably find some shopping places, find some good places to eat, meet with some players and chill with the guys."
Are you familiar with Miles Banks? He is from Missouri City, TX as well.
"Yes, we just recently ended up talking on Twitter 2-3 days ago. He was just telling me to come here and be ready to work."