DITR: OLB/MLB Jakel Irving, Natchez High School (Natchez, Mississippi)

Jakel Irving is a monster linebacker within the 2025 class. He weighs in at 6’3, 225 pounds and possesses freak athleticism. Irving is a dual-threat linebacker who is able to operate in any alignment. Whether his team needs him at the line of scrimmage, acting as a JACK in a 3-4, or working in the interior as a tradition MLB, Irving is capable of executing each position with ease. He has great athleticism, outstanding bend and great pursuit angles. He can lower the boom or run stride-for-stride with receivers. All-in-all, Irving is a great all around linebacker.

Starting with his looks from the defensive line. Irving is able to use his 4.6 speed to move around blockers, while using his tremendous bend to stay in a position to make a play. His large frame also allows him to get physical during pass-rushing, and use his quick, violent hands to free himself from the blocker. He excels at rip and swim moves, which gives him a decently large pass-rush bag, especially for someone his age.

His technique is also fairly refined, as he works to keep himself in a position to make a play, even when executing a maneuver. He’s also smart about not keeping himself out of plays and has a phenomenal motor that keeps his legs moving, even when facing double teams. Lastly, he’s always aware of where the ball is, which allows him to stay in position to recover or force fumbles.

When he works from the box, he is still equally disruptive. The first play on his Hudl is him working from the box. In an instant, he fires from his linebacker spot, down through the offensive line; he engages with the lead blocker, and uses his speed and size to blow it up. Irving sends the blocker through the ball-carrier, resulting in a tackle for loss. This play showed his awareness, pursuit angles and athleticism all in one play. He is a strong player who works to keep himself in the play, even whenever the ball isn’t coming his way. This helps cover up issues on his defense, and essentially makes him the perfect linebacker.

However, Irving has an impact on the game, even when he’s not playing linebacker. The 6’3 athlete has 4.6 speed, which has gotten him looked at offensively. In one play, ran by Natchez, they had him lined up to receive the snap in a read option play. He could either hand off the snap, or tuck it and run. He opted for the latter and housed the ball 70-yards. His ability to read the field translated to his offensive possessions. Irving made the right read, after analyzing the defense, which allowed him to make a major play.

These kinds of plays are common for Irving, when he’s on defense. He’s able to read the field prior to the snap, put himself in position for a big play and then execute flawlessly. Whether he is lined up on the defensive line, or contained to the middle of the field, he finds a way to impact the game. He’s like a Tiger on the prowl, once he sets his eyes on the ball-carrier, that’s it. It’s why he’s so good at attacking with the right angles and getting to the ball-carrier. He plays like he’s driven to disrupt the entire offense.

Jakel Irving is a member of the 2025 class. He shows plenty of promise as a roaming linebacker, such as Micah Parsons or Harold Perkins. The 6’3 linebacker has already begun to get noticed, receiving twelve offers already. However, as his senior campaign unfolds, Irving should be on every major institutions watchlist. With his final season at Natchez coming closer, every football fan will want to watch him perform.

Below is a QnA between Irving and myself:

What is your height and weight?

6’3 225

What are some things you have overcome in life?

I’ve overcame a lot, but mostly negativity.

What are your biggest accomplishments?

Earning D-I offers.

What player do you compare yourself to and why?

Micah Parsons.

What are your plans once you’re done with football and why?

Just be with my family because they mean a lot to me.

What is your GPA?

My GPA is a 3.5.

What do you like about the sport of football and how is it significant to you?

Football is a stress reliever, it helps me get my head off a lot of things.

Do you have any offers, if so where?

Yes I have 12 offers from: Troy university, East Mississippi, Arkansas State, Southern MS, Jackson State, Alcorn State, University of Toledo, University of Marshall, UT Martin, Prairie View, Co-Lin, and Valley State University.

What is an interesting fact about you outside of football?

I love helping people, in general.

What are your stats throughout your football career?

My stats are really hard to keep up with, cause it’s a lot. I just know I’m the best.

What is your 40 speed, Broad, Vert, Shuttle, ETC?

I know my 40 speed is a 4.6.

What is your dream school to play for in college?

My dream school is LSU.

What are your current football goals?

Really just to be the best I can be.

What is a strength you have in the game?

My speed.

What’s your favorite activity outside of football?

Fishing and hunting.

What’s something football taught you?

Never give up.