North's Jake Becker signs with Methodist
Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2012
By Ryan Bisesi
SPENCER — North Rowan’s Jake Becker hopes his move from the high school to college level in 2012 goes as smoothly as the transition from 4A to the 1A game last year.
“When Jake came to North, no one really knew him,” North coach Tasker Fleming said. “He had to prove himself. He became a leader and led by example.”
Becker played at Lake Norman before moving to North last season and experienced a breakout campaign. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound linebacker inked with Methodist recently after quietly having an All-County season and helping the Cavaliers to a playoff berth.
“Methodist seemed like they had a good program,” Becker said. “All the coaches were nice and paid more attention to me.”
Methodist, a Division III school in Fayetteville, is a member of the USA South Conference and was 3-7 in 2011.
Coming to a much smaller school such as North, Becker embraced the opportunity to play on both sides of the ball. It was his first action carrying the ball since freshman year at LN. After some injuries hampered the running game, Becker took some handoffs against East Rowan and ran for a 20-yard touchdown to seal the Cavs’ first victory. Becker rumbled into the end zone with 1:06 left to hand North an 18-6 lead. It was his first prep touchdown and he proclaimed it the highlight of his season.
Making a team-high 112 tackles were pretty influential too for the anchor of the defense.
“We were a better team when he was playing both ends,” Fleming said. “You could tell he was focused academically and came from a football background.”
Becker was part of a 3-4 defensive formation at LN, but transitioned nicely into North’s 4-2-5. He made plenty of plays despite having to play both ends, something that’s expected at a 1A school. The heavy course load was no problem.
“He leads by quiet example,” Fleming said. “He’s just a pleasure to coach.”
Becker shook off a high-ankle sprain suffered on the first play of the game against East Montgomery. Becker sat out the next two games and never really returned to 100 percent. Fleming commended his ability to play with the injury.
“I’ve got to get some lateral quickness,” Becker said. “That ankle sprain slowed me down last year.”
If the ball was on the ground, Becker was there to scoop it up. Becker was the county leader in fumble recoveries with six, good enough for second in the state according to NCpreps.com. Only Dezmond Leach (Mt. Tabor) had more with seven. Before last season, Becker had two recoveries in his career.
“I guess I got lucky,” Becker said.
Methodist representatives came to visit during the season and Becker went on an official visit after the season.
Becker boasts a 3.5 GPA and plans to major in exercise science. He says he dropped about 10 pounds after becoming a late-season addition to the wrestling team.
“The speed of the game is going to be different,” Becker said. “Kind of like from going to JV to varsity, high school to college is a big jump.”