Skip to main content

With the 76th pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars select...

(Photo Credit: The Morning Call)

OL Will Rackley is now a Jacksonville Jaguar.

At about 9:30 PM eastern time, the Jaguars traded up for the second time in this NFL draft to get a player they wanted. On Thursday, it was Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert, who was still on the board with the 10th overall pick, as they made a swap with the Redkins to get the speedy spread QB from the Tigers.

On Friday, they saw another player of great value still on the board early in the third round - a certain bookend tackle who played at a Patriot League school for four years. So general manger Gene Smith got on the phone with the San Francisco 49ers and got the deal done to get the interior lineman he wanted.

“Obviously, when I’m moving up for a player this early, we feel like he’s an eventual starter,” Smith told the Associated Press. “We like his position versatility. We did a lot of work on him. ... We felt very good about this.”(more)


Will and Lehigh head coach Andy Coen talked about his selection in Lehigh's official Lehighsports.com release announcing his selection.

“I got really anxious seeing all the guys going in front of me,” Rackley said. “It was a long couple of hours. Then I got the phone call and saw it was an NFL team. I couldn’t wait to see what team it was, and it was exciting to find out it was Jacksonville and to finally talk to all the coaches and staff.

Rackley continued, “It all came together nicely, but my goals aren’t done yet. It’s a big deal for a guy like me from a small school to be selected in the third round.”

“Everyone associated with the Lehigh Football family is thrilled for Will,” said Lehigh head coach Andy Coen. “He has worked incredibly hard to get to this point and I have no doubt he will be successful in the NFL. Will was a special player at Lehigh and has always represented the university and the Patriot League in a first class manner. It was a privilege to have Will in our program.”
(In the official release, there's a threee-minute video set to AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" that details Will's career and is a must-see.  Trust me on this.)

As the 76th pick, Will becomes the highest-ever Patriot League player taken in the NFL draft, beating out Lehigh's DE Rich Owens (5th round, 152 overall, Washington Redskins) in 1995 and Fordham's QB John Skelton (5th round, 155 overall, Arizona Cardinals).

Checking out Michael LoRe's summary of Will's pick, Rackley missed out being Lehigh's highest-ever draft pick, both in the all-time category (QB Dan Nolan, 4th round, No. 40 in 1958) or in the modern era category (QB Kim McQuilken, 3rd round, No. 68 in 1974).

"We felt he was the best lineman at the East-West Shrine Game," Smith added in this video interview posted on the Jaguars' website.   "When you're at this position in the draft, and you have a chance to move up to get  a targeted player who you see as an eventual starter, it's a move that makes too much sense."

Will added that he felt that it was "crazy and humbling to see that a team wants me that badly."

A recruit video of Will was also posted to the Jaguars' website today as well.

According to Keith Groller of the Morning Call one guy who wasn't surprised by Jacksonville's trade-up was none other than offensive line coach Brett Sawyer, who once worked with Jaguars offensive line coach Andy Heck when they were both assistants at Virginia.

According to Groller, Heck came for a one-on-one visit weeks before the draft.

"I know Andy very well and my first thought is that Will will be in good hands with him," Sawyer said. "They have outstanding people in their organization, plus Jacksonville is not that far from where Will is from. His family can drive to see him play."

"My family is thrilled," Rackley said. "It's only three or four hours from here to Jacksonville. I can't wait to get there to get to work."

Sawyer said that he recruits Florida for Lehigh and attended a Jags mini-camp last May where Terry McDonough, the Jags' director of player personnel, was already asking him questions about Rackley.

Additionally, from the Associated Press again:

“He plays a very physical game, but when you meet him and speak to him, you’re not going to say, ‘Wow, he’s nasty,’” Heck said. “He’s everything you want in an offensive linemen. He’s got nasty. But he’s thoughtful, smart, intense. Like a good offensive linemen, I don’t think he’ll stand out one way or another in terms of personality. That’s the way I like them anyway.”

He finished his college career with 300 knockdowns and 35 blocks that resulted in touchdowns.

In addition to Gabbert and Rackley, Jacksonville took three other players with their remaining picks: Mount Union (NJ) WR Cecil Shorts, Wyoming S Christopher Prosinski, and Midlle Tennessee State CB Roderick Issac. While it's possible that that any one of these guys become great pros, it's also likely that the success of the Jaguar draft will hinge on how Gabbert and Rackley do as pros - the "elite players" that are expected to jump in as starters.

That's exactly why Will's selection, and the circumstances around it, make everyone associated with the Mountain Hawks proud of Will's achievement.

Congratulations, Will, from every Lehigh football fan all over the Nation.

Comments

Anonymous said…
It was DAN Nolan ( J. Daniel Nolan)in 1958. Please don't get the name of the best quarterback Lehigh ever had wrong!
Anonymous said…
Jesus Dan take it easy! Nice to know you are still alive and feisty! I don't know if you were the best quarterback danny, but for 1958 I guess you were ok ha!Now go take your meds and rst easy Danny boy!

Popular posts from this blog

Friday Water Cooler: Emma Watson, And Harvard Football

(Photo courtesy switched.com) I'm sure this won't be appreciated by the latest famous freshman to attend an Ivy League school. No, no, I'm not talking about Brooke Shields, I'm talking about Emma Watson, the actress who is best known for her turn as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies. We always knew there was something, well, different about kids who went to Harvard - a bit of an upturned nose, perhaps, annoying arrogance, or maybe even some Brahmin-ness while we're at it. Turns out, though, that some students were up to something more sinister: stalking Ms. Brown University at the Harvard/Brown game last weekend, as reported by the New York Post : Page Six reported on Tuesday that the "Harry Potter" starlet and Brown University freshman looked "quite shaken" on Saturday as Harvard beat Brown 24-21 in Cambridge. Watson was reportedly flanked by security guards to protect her from gawkers. But her discomfort was actually the result

Lehigh Wrestling Gets Superstar Treatment at PPL Center. Lehigh Football Needs The Same At Murray Goodman.

"We knew it would be nice," Lehigh wrestling head coach Pat Santoro said. "But it was even better than we expected." Pat was talking about the reception his Lehigh wrestling squad experienced at Allentown's PPL Center this weekend, when a sellout crowd over nearly 10,000 people came to watch No. 1 Penn State grapple with No. 5 Lehigh in a collegiate wrestling event. It was, by all accounts, something special to behold.  "I thought it was really cool and an exciting place to wrestle," said Penn State wrestler Nick Nevills . "These fans were really into it, a rowdy bunch. It's a lot more fun as an athlete to wrestle in an environment like this. I'd say it was one of the most exciting times I have had in my career." The sense of spectacle at the PPL center, though, puts a spotlight on what more can be done at Lehigh itself to make their athletic contests into spectacles.  It requires money to be spent and energy to be expend

Assuming the Ivy Is Cancelling Out Of Conference Games, Here's How Patriot League Can Have 9 Game Season

The Patriot League could very well be in a huge bind assuming the Ivy League goes forward with their college football restart plans. According to Mark Blaudschun of TMG Sports, the Ivy League is considering two plans for their 2020 college football season - neither of which allow for any out of conference games. 13 out-of-conference games involving Patriot League teams would be on the chopping block, and when you add to it the Patriot League presidents' guidance to not fly to games , every single member of the Patriot League is affected.  If you add to that the fact that the opening of the college football season is going to at best start in late September (yes, you read that correctly), the Patriot League would count as one of the most deeply affected by Covid-19-influenced delays and decisions in the entire college football landscape. It is a bind to be sure - but not one that should see the Patriot League cancel the 2020 football season. If we start with the assumption that t