Jacob Schwind is the 2015 Fauquier Times Kettle Run Boys Athlete of the Year
Tuesday, Jul. 28
--Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Jacob Schwind is an offensive lineman who defies stereotypes. And also reinforces them.
He’s big at 220 pounds, but not huge for a college football lineman who'll be a long snapper this fall at Old Dominion.
While he fits the role of a cerebral tough guy who calls football his top sport, Schwind also excelled at the demanding, intricate and technical pursuits of wrestling and lacrosse — yet also found time to play the bass in the chamber orchestra and volunteer at Fauquier Hospital and The Villa at Suffield Meadows.
In era when three-sport athletes have gone the way of the Edsal, meet sports renaissance man Jacob Schwind, the 2015 Fauquier Times Kettle Run Boys Athlete of the Year.
A virtual decathlete in orange, green and black, Schwind's list of accomplishments includes all-conference honors as a center in football, a Class 3A wrestling state tournament appearance at 220 pounds and a starting role as a punishing defenseman on Kettle Run's regional-qualifying lacrosse team.
He's also an accomplished long snapper in football, which is an extra level skill in itself and led to his status as a preferred walkon at ODU.
He's planning to get a B.A. in nursing at ODU and likely pursue medical school. He had an 1820 SAT and 29 ACT.
It goes without saying that Schwind's mind-boggling schedule required incredible juggling.
"It takes good time management. Sports gave me something to think about," said Schwind. "I played football, then I'd switch and do something different — work my body in a different way. It was never a lot of down time."
Often his transition from football to wrestling to lacrosse left him no time to reflect on the sport he just completed, much less prepare for his new pursuit. "Sometimes it was just a weekend. I'd go right into the next sport," Schwind said.
But his days were achingly familiar: practice for two hours, come home, start his homework, break for a late family dinner. "We make a point to eat as a family and we eat late. Maybe 9 when everyone is finally home. We talk about our days. Then I'd go back to do more homework and start the whole process again. My family is awesome," Schwind said.
One common theme in Schwind’s profile is his chameleon-like ability to pick up a sport relatively quickly. He did not wrestle or play lacrosse until middle school.
In what seems like a common theme, Schwind was motivated to try a new sport by friends.
"I think there is something to that," said his father Michael, a former University of Iowa offensive lineman and another powerful influence in his development. "Friends made it comforting for him to try something he otherwise might not have tried. He loves to play and once he got a sport going, he falls in love with that sport."
Asked to name some of the most memorable teammates, Schwind cites Colson Jaynes, who played the same triple crown of macho sports (football/wrestling/lacrosse) as Schwind. KRHS standout goalie James Stumpo got him going with lacrosse. Schwind started wrestling with friend Taylor Redmond. Schwind also singled out Bobby Hix, Jacob Foy and Taylor Nirich as strong influences.
One factor to his three-sport success is that the 6-foot Schwind is not excessively big to exclude any sport, except perhaps the 100-yard dash. While primarily an offensive lineman he performed at weights from 230 to 212. Not being jumbo-sized, Schwind had the versatility to move up and down the field in lacrosse and perform agile movements in the wrestling circle.
He also played with passion.
“He’s got a nasty streak on the football field. Coaches like that," said KRHS coach Jeff Lloyd.
"Jacob is the epitome of what I try to teach my wrestlers to be," said KR wrestling coach Mike Foy. "His work ethic is what I preach to my team. It's not about winning or losing but being great. When I say great, that's what I mean. Set goals and do whatever it takes to achieve them. Jacob does that."
A job that isn't a snap
Long snapper is a position that can get a player to the NFL. It’s getting Jacob Schwind a roster spot on an FBS team competing in Conference USA.
Schwind's highly valued ability to fire a football between his legs to a waiting punter in about seven tenths of a second got him noticed by ODU.
"It's a combination of arms and legs. You want to explode with your lower half and follow through with your hands," says Schwind of the long snapping process. "Ideally you want it on a straight rise from the ground to the punter. A perfect snap is on the punter's hip. Anything around the stomach is ideal."
Michael Schwind, who played on University of Iowa teams form 1989-92, including one that went to the 1991 Rose Bowl, said he had his sons toy with long snapping when they were young.
"His little brother tried it earlier and Jake was not super enthusiastic. But I kept telling him, 'If you learn to do it, it can get you on the field.' It's tedious and far harder than anyone thinks to do it consistently well," the former Hawkeye said.
Jacob stuck with it, making his intentions clear as a KRHS freshman. "One day he came home and said 'They asked if anyone can long snap and I raised my hand.' He snapped on every team he played on after that," said his father.
Jacob started going to special teams camps to see where he stacked up, which led to his recruitment by ODU, which moved to the highest level of Division I football in 2013.
While Schwind will no longer be a full-time center, don't think he feels unappreciated. "There's a lot of pressure on one thing. I have to deliver every time," says Schwind about executing on every punt and field goal attempt.
Schwind started at center his junior and senior years and was one of three senior captains on a Cougar team that had its share of up and downs in finishing 6-5 after a heartbreaking loss to Petersburg in the opening round of regionals.
"He did whatever was asked of him. He was the only kid up front versatile to play guard, center or tackle. He’s the one kid if we lost we were really, really hurting,” said Lloyd.
“He was very big comfort to me," Lloyd added. "I can’t recall a poor snap from the kid in a punting situation or in a field goal situation.”
Schwind’s listing as the second team all-Conference 27 center behind another Jacob (Jacob Moskowitz of Spotsylvania) still rankles Lloyd, who said Spotsylvania nominated three offensive linemen from a 3-7 team, and he spoke up about it. “It was not the politically correct thing to say in that meeting, but Jacob should have been the first team center.”
While Kettle Run’s senior season was the most erratic in a while, Schwind worked on his skills and played well. He called the highlight of the season beating Fauquier and remembers happy times going to IHOP after games. "Most of the student section would go, it was a lot of fun," Schwind said.
Putting the headgear on
Schwind qualified for the Class 3A state wrestling meet at 220 pounds, where he lost his first and only match to Jacob Plaster of Northside, 11-6.
With the format condensed into one day due to weather issues, no consolation rounds were held, depriving the entire field of extra bouts in a highly controversial decision by the VHSL.
"I felt he would have been in the top four," said coach Mike Foy. "He had a rough draw, which made it tough."
Schwind didn’t like the VHSL decision either. "You can wrestle to third (after losing your first match). It's doable," said Schwind, who said he did it in a tournament when he was a sophomore.
Schwind went 31-12 as a senior and finished third in the Conference 27 meet and third in the Class 3A East Regional meet, where he went 4-1 and won three matches by pin.
He called the accomplishments of the Cougar wrestling team the highlight of his senior sports year.
"It was my favorite team. My senior year we had best record in school history in duals. We won a first ever first place trophy," said Schwind.
Schwind wrestled at 160 as a freshman, moved to 195 as a sophomore and wrestled at 220 as a junior and senior.
He had an aggressive style, and his top move was a leg shot called the high crotch, Foy said.
"It's the hardest thing I've done for sure, but it's the best thing I've ever done," said Schwind about wrestling.
The man with the hickory stick
Schwind made Kettle Run's JV lacrosse team as a freshman, started getting playing time as a sophomore and became a full-time starter in his final two seasons.
He had 12 blocks and 18 ground balls as a senior.
The biggest man in a Cougars' jersey, Schwind was assigned to check people hard, but he got one memorable assist in a key game against Fauquier when he marauded upfield and fed Grant Miclat.
“He was big and physical, which is what you want in a defenseman back there,” said coach Scott Begley. “Jacob was the right size. 215 is big for a high school kid. You gotta be in good shape and he came off wrestling in good shape,” Begley said.
“He was a smart kid and picked up different defenses.”
Schwind said he relished the chance to put a lick on opponents. He used a hickory stick, as opposed to an aluminum one, which he felt hurt a little more.
Still, Schwind was aggressive without being too nasty.
“It was nothing out of the ordinary. He is a physical player. All his hits were legal,” said Begley, who said Schwind spent very little time in the penalty box.
Schwind did take satisfaction out of his hickory long pole, which conjures up the phrase of taking a someone to the woodshed as a method of punishment.
"It was a lot heavier, I could throw checks that hurt a lot more," said Schwind.
Jake's fourth sport
One intriguing nugget in the Schwind portfolio is his soccer prowess.
“I was bigger than everybody. In rec leagues I could score,” said Schwind, who began soccer when he lived in Omaha and Georgia. He even wreaked terror on members of the Kettle Run girls athletic program. “I remember one WYSC game I launched a ball in a youth league game and it nailed Emily Yergin (a KRHS girls soccer star) in the stomach and she went down. I felt bad about it,” Schwind said.
“If I devoted time to it. There are strict running rules for times. Had I wanted to play more soccer, we could have seen where it went,” said Schwind, about his chances of playing soccer at KRHS. “I probably wouldn’t have weighed as much.”
He said he saw the writing on the wall in eighth grade as he played alongside future KRHS talents Kevin Coleman and Garrett Magill at Warrenton Middle School, and was beginning to lose playing time.
It’s unclear if he would have made the Kettle Run varsity but he should be noted that Tim Coleman, Kevin’s brother and the 2013 Fauquier Times Kettle Run Boys Athlete of the Year, was a big guy who played football and soccer.
He's a Monarch now
Schwind's skills as an all-conference center and long snapper got him some college looks, leading him to nearly choose VMI.
ODU came into the picture after Schwind attended the Atlantic Kicking Institute, a specialty camp for kickers and long snappers. There he met Tom Edwards, who referred him to Michael Zyskowski, who is ODU's special teams coach.
"The military thing I thought was awesome, and to play football there would be a bonus. I was almost was ready to go there. I felt like that was the place," Schwind said about VMI.
But Schwind said a coaching change at VMI bothered him.
His contact with ODU led to an offer of academic money as a preferred walk-on. Plus, ODU had a more preferable academic curriculum. He's been living full-time in Norfolk this summer, taking two courses and conducting intense preseason workouts.
“Most of team is here now. I’m walking on, so I’m getting in the swing of college classes. That way I don’t have to juggle football and it’s not a shock to the system."
Long snapper is not a deep position so there's a chance Schwind could make the 2015 roster and be headed to Ypsilanti, Mich., for the Sept. 5 season opener at Eastern Michigan.
"You'll have a story if he makes the travel team," said Kari Schwind.
And we wouldn't be surprised.
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The Schwind File
Family: Dad Michael is a regional manager for Porsche. Mom Kari is a nurse at Fauquier Hospital. Brother Ryan, 16, is a rising junior at Kettle Run, where he wrestles and plays football. Sister Rachel, 13, is a rising eighth grader at Warrenton Middle School.
Favorite music: Dave Matthews Band
Author: Stephen Ambrose.
Movie: Likes John Wayne and classic westerns. "It’s a little ironic that my favorite is Big Jake. It’s arguably his best film.”
The Jake calling: His parents set his phone so the readout says “The Jake.” "People call me Jake. I go by either one.”
Restaurant: Joe and Vinnie’s in Warrenton. "I’m a fan of their margherita pizza. Every Friday night we get pizza."
Best meal ever: Inn at Little Washington, a surprise from his parents. "I ate herb-crusted lamb carpaccio and caesar salad ice cream."
Favorite dessert: Homemade ice cream with warm homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Numbers worn: No. 56 in football as a freshman, then 52 the rest of the way. In lacrosse wore No. 24 as freshman, sophomore and senior. Schwind said teammate Morgan Ledden took 24 in Schwind’s junior year, so he wore 32.
TV: "We watch The Middle. It’s like they put a hidden camera in our house.”
Sports teams: "I’m a huge Packers fan. They’re the only publicly-owned sports franchise. A couple years ago my parents got me a share of the Packers. Now I’m an owner of the Packers."
Vacation spot: Often goes to Iowa to visit family.
Pets: Dog named Atlas, a boxer.
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