Spain Park senior commits to USA

Spain Park High School senior Jacob Chaffin verbally committed July 9 to play college football at the University of South Alabama. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Spain Park High School rising senior Jacob Chaffin racked up nearly a dozen scholarship offers from college football programs across the Southeast heading into his final high school season.

The opportunity to help build a program from the ground up played the biggest role in Chaffin’s decision to verbally commit July 9 to play college football at the University of South Alabama.

Chaffin saw a chance to make a historical impact for the Jaguars, who play a full schedule for the first time this fall. South Alabama will be eligible to capture the Sun Belt Conference championship and play in a bowl game for the first time in Chaffin’s freshman season in 2013.

“I just want to be part of the (program’s) history,” Chaffin said. “I just loved the campus. It is really nice.”

The 6-foot-3, 255-pound defensive tackle chose South Alabama from a pool of scholarship offers including Southern Miss, Tulane, Troy, Middle Tennessee State and Arkansas State, among others.

Chaffin said he was extremely impressed by South Alabama head coach Joey Jones, a former high school coach at Mountain Brook, and defensive coordinator Bill Clark, a former high school coach at Prattville. Chaffin said the pair sold him on early playing time with the Jaguars.

“They’re just great people,” Chaffin said. “I feel like maybe I can get in there and play early.”

Chaffin said he’s relieved to have his college decision out of the way before fall practice begins at Spain Park. The Jaguars’ defensive leader has high expectations for his team this fall.

“Most definitely, recruiting is over for me,” Chaffin said. “I want to win a state championship. That’s what I’m focused on.”

Chaffin is one of two Spain Park players who have verbally committed to play college football. Linebacker Jeniah Jackson, the younger brother of former Spain Park standout and current Arkansas junior defensive lineman Jeremiah Jackson, committed to play college football at UAB recently.