Last season Thomas Jefferson finished the season 4-6 making the playoffs for the first time since 2013 under head coach Chris Mitchell. This season they go into the season without coach Mitchell and quarterback Manu Moss. Last season Moss used his strong arm and his legs to help Thomas Jefferson pick up victories, which included Armstrong, Caroline, John Marshall, and JR Tucker. Moss is at Virginia State now playing defensive line. This year, they are led by Coach P.J Adams who is very familiar with the program.
“It’s a blessing, I feel really good about the team.” Adams says. “Unlike the other coaches in the area, I was familiar because I have coached here before.”
“A lot more discipline and a lot more consistency. Those are the two major things that we are trying to do as we are trying to change the culture and the climate of this program.”
With Coach Adams at helm of things, Thomas Jefferson looks to be in good hands with a coach dedicated to the program. The Vikings are led by senior running Back Jalen Jackson (5’9 215), who just committed to Villanova. The senior picked up more than 1300 yards last season playing multiple positions on offense. This year he will play mostly running back. Under center, it will be senior Alex Jacobs (6’1 185). The 6’1 quarterback is the brother of former Trinity Episcopal basketball star Zach Jacobs, who is now a freshman at JMU. Jacobs started the last two games for the Vikings last year so he will have some experience as starter. Adams see a lot of pocket presence in Jacob, but Jacob can also use his legs when it’s needed. Jacob will have a trio of receivers to throw the ball to in Anwar Wilson-Bradley, Anton Wade and slot man Dezhan White as all these receivers can make plays with the ball in their hand.
Thomas Jefferson fell in the first week of the season to a tough Goochland team 45-14.
Quarterback: Alex Jacobs will headline this position. Jacobs has the tools to be a true pocket passer as Coach Adams calls him “one of the most true quarterbacks at T.J. in the last 5-6 years.” With two games started last year, Jacob’s will use those game as learning experience’s to help guide him for this season. Jacobs previously played wide out for Trinity last season and with him getting more and more reps at quarterback, Adams says he should get adjusted quickly.
Running Backs: Jalen Jackson will be name to hear for the halfback position. Jackson is one of the few returners from last years team. The Villanova commit looks to continue to put up numbers for the Vikings. Adams calls Jackson a “very versatile player” that can run the ball hard this season. Adams also says he is a “prolific game changer”. Expect to hear a lot from Jackson this year as his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands and his hard running will lead this team.
Wide Receivers: The Vikings have themselves a trio of wide outs to throw to. This unit will be led out by senior Anwar Wilson-Bradley (6’2 190). Adams praised Wilson-Bradley calling him their most prolific receiver out of the group. His deep threat ability, his speed and his body frame gives him the advantage over many corners to face Wilson-Bradley also led the team in receiving yards as he caught 25 balls for 500 yards last season. On the opposite side, the Vikings will have another senior in returner Anton Wade (5’9 170). Wade is a very solid route runner who can beat you with his quickness and can also catch the ball very consistently. In the slot, it will be junior Dezhan White (5’9 165). Although White didn’t play much last season, Coach says White worked hard over the off season and expects him to be a “potential breakout player.” while also stating he is “one of the most athletic guys on the team.” The trio looks to cause nightmare’s for opposing teams
Offensive Line: Tight end Orlando Nash (6’2 190) will be on the line while also catching some passes here and there. Tackle Robert Ponton-Artis (5’10 200) is a junior who can hold his end of the of a block. Sophomore Chris Iverson (6’0 240) will be starting at the guard spot. Returning Senior Pope Bland (6’1 280) will be at the center spot. Divonte Wither (5’10 205) will start at the other guard spot. Wesley Hicks (6’2 305) will be the other tackle for the Vikings. With Iverson, Bland, and Hicks all returning from last year, this serves as a very experienced area.
Defensive Line: One of the loses to this line was Manu Moss, who graduated. Starting at the end spot will be Marquez Taylor (5’11 200). Inside of the line is a strength as Junior Nate Smith (6’5 220) will look to tear defenses apart. Beside Smith, is senior Cameron Watson (5’10 205) a returner from last season. The other end will be Chris Joseph (6’0 205). Although this line isn’t big, Adams says this line posses speed to get to the backfield and cause chaos.
Linebackers: Jahlin Russell (5’9 190) is a junior who will be starting at one of the linebacker spots. Gyasi Hale (5’9 180) is another junior who can make plays as his work showed as he made 2nd team all conference last year Adams calls Hale the leader of this unit. Orlando Nash is the last linebacker who has a ton of upside with his size and strength as he will play both offense and defense. This unit possess a ton of speed that can make plays on the ball.
Secondary: Anwar Wilson-Bradley will headline one part of the secondary as his size, speed, and his knowledge of a receiver will be a helping guide against receivers. Keondre Spencer (6’0 175) will be the other corner as the senior holds potential in being a lockdown corner. Senior Dominick Williams (5’9 170) is another returner to this secondary who can make big plays. An up comer from JV by the name of Tyquan Wilson (6’2 180) will be the other starting safety. With experience from Spencer and Williams, this secondary could come a long way as and Wilson being on the rise as he shows a ton of potential. Coach calls this position the strength of the team as they can play man coverage and zone while pressing on the receivers.
Special Teams: Keegan Vaughn, a junior from the soccer team will be handling the field goal and kickoff duties, while quarterback Alex Jacobs will be handling the punting duties for the Vikings.