Jackson LaDuke is Northern Nevada's next big-time football recruit

Jackson LaDuke
Jackson LaDuke (

Northern Nevada has not typically been fertile recruiting ground for college football programs, but that has changed to a degree in recent years.

Two years ago, Northern Nevada boasted Brandon "Ale" Kaho, the area's first five-star recruit and the No. 21 player in the 2018 class, per Kaho, a Reno High linebacker, had offers from just about everybody and eventually picked Washington before a surprise transfer to Alabama during 2018 fall camp.

Last year, Northern Nevada boasted Cade McNamara, the area's most highly recruited high school quarterback, a four-star prospect listed by as the No. 9 pro-style QB in his class. The Elite 11 quarterback picked Michigan over Notre Dame, Alabama and USC, among other schools.

This year, that big-time recruit could be Spanish Springs High linebacker Jackson LaDuke, who on Wednesday was offered by UCLA, a rare Power 5 offer for a Northern Nevada kid coming out of his junior season. Oregon State then offered him Thursday afternoon. LaDuke's first offer came from Nevada in October before Fresno State followed suit in November. LaDuke won't start his senior season until August, so you can expect more Power 5 offers to come now that he's on the regional radar.

At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, LaDuke has the size to be a Power 5 player. The outside linebacker was named first-team all-state, one of just four kids from Northern Nevada to make the first team, which slanted heavily to the south. (The three other North players got FBS scholarship: McNamara, Michigan; Peyton Dixon, Fresno State; and Ben Dooley, Boise State). LaDuke was the one of just four juniors to make the all-state first team, including the only one from the North.

In 12 games last season, LaDuke had 101 tackles, including 22 for loss, seven sacks, five passes defended and one interception. He has 43 tackles for the loss over the last two seasons. LaDuke also had 27 catches for 311 yards, rushed for 137 yards and scored four touchdowns last year. But his future is on defense, and it could be at the Power 5 level, although Nevada will surely do its best to try and keep the blue-chip prospect at home.

LaDuke is an unrated prospect on right now but he'll surely be a three-star recruit once the site picks up the UCLA and Oregon State offers and I wouldn't be shocked to see him pushed up to a four-star recruit by signing day.

LaDuke already has one offer from a Top 25 school (Fresno State) and two more from Pac-12 schools (UCLA, Oregon State). It will be interesting to track if other power schools come to Northern Nevada to see him play, but he definitely has traction. And he's got a great name for football: Jackson LaDuke. Sounds like a hard hitter.

Also of note is Bishop Manogue OT Joey Wright, who has offers from Nevada and Washington State with interest from many other schools. He also could explode across the regional scene as a senior in 2019.

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