Standout quarterback makes much-anticipated commitment
By Steve Breazeale
San Clemente High School football coach Jaime Ortiz is accustomed to watching Jack Sears, his quarterback, shake things up. So when the highly sought-after senior decided he will be heading east to play for Duke University next year after months of deliberation, the veteran coach was not surprised.
Sears was considered to be the top uncommitted quarterback prospect on the West Coast, and Southland powerhouses USC and UCLA were heavily in the mix. Instead, Sears chose to head to Durham and become a Blue Devil, where he said he felt most comfortable.
“I think it shocked a lot of people to be honest. It’s not often you get an Orange County kid to decide to go across the country to Duke and not go to USC or UCLA. But that’s Jack, he doesn’t do what people expect. He’s his own man,” Ortiz said.
Sears held over 20 offers, and eventually narrowed his list down to four schools: USC, UCLA, Utah and Duke. Sears and his family took several trips across the country and after two visits to Durham, he decided it was where he wanted to be.
Sears said he weighed each program’s coaching staff, campus culture and education and locker room atmosphere as the most important factors in his decision.
Sears’ announcement was rather old school when compared to the social media fanfare that usually goes along with today’s highly ranked recruits. At 6 a.m. on August 8, Sears picked up the phone, called Duke head coach David Cutcliffe and told him he wanted to be a Blue Devil. At 6:15 a.m., Sears headed to the Tritons early morning practice and got back to work preparing for the upcoming fall season.
“It’s hard to put into words. It feels nice to be committed and know the next step in my life but right now I’m trying to focus back in on what I have to do (at San Clemente) for the next six months,” Sears said. “It’s definitely a weight off your shoulders … and knowing that allows you to be more free and just kind of play more loose and have fun. I’m looking forward to that and seeing what we can do this year.”