Updated Fri, Aug 30, 2013 3:06 pm
A quick glance at the Marietta football roster won’t make college football fans excited with incoming five-star recruits. There are even some players that weren’t the best players on their respective high school teams. But a deeper look reveals there are always diamonds in the rough on every roster.
One of those hidden diamonds is senior linebacker Jake Hammer.
Hammer, a native of Wadsworth, Ohio, and graduate of NBA star LeBron James’ alma mater St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, was recruited by Marietta to play fullback. He made a splash immediately, earning his first varsity letter and appearing in all 10 games as a freshman. Although Hammer only carried the ball once, he made an impact on special teams, accumulating 10 total tackles (nine solo).
The coaching staff recognized his productivity on special teams and decided to test Hammer’s talents at linebacker for his sophomore season. Hammer proved himself and adapted quickly in 2011, recording 55 total tackles, 10 of which came in a single game against Otterbein. While Hammer had improved his sophomore year, he was only cracking the surface of his full potential.
In 2012, Hammer became a household name around the OAC and Division III football, as he accumulated 115 total tackles and earned second team All-OAC honors. Hammer ended the season 16th in the nation in tackles per game and proved to be Marietta’s most dangerous asset.
Hammer faces more change in his final season as a Pioneer, as Andy Waddle takes over at head coach and brings a new 4-3 defensive system with him. But Waddle said he wouldn’t want anyone else leading his team in a time of transition.
“[Hammer’s] the kind of guy that every coach wants to have,” Waddle said. “He’s strong, fast and just an overall good athlete. Not only is he a big contributor on the field, but in the locker room and across the campus as well.”
Waddle also added that Hammer has been an integral piece in getting the whole team to buy into this new direction for the program and had helped lead the team through the offseason and spring practices.
Hammer is a senior and isn’t ready to give up on getting the Pioneers back on the right track. He said that he wants to lead and has no problem with putting the team on his shoulders.
“Personally, I want to be seen as the guy who leads the charge and gets the ball rolling regardless of the role I have to play,” Hammer said. “I want other teams to once again see us as a successful team."