Logan • Never one to mince words, Utah State linebackers coach Kevin Clune told Jake Doughty the truth three years ago when he showed up on campus. Clune said the aspiring linebacker looked “diseased” and “sickly,” and that the road to actual playing time would be a long one because of his lack of weight.
At 160 pounds, the former Juan Diego High star certainly fit the bill. He was skinny at the time. He lacked strength, although the speed and the instinct was always there. Even for a walk-on, Doughty knew he had a ways to go in all areas.
So, he went to work.
“I drank two protein shakes a day,” Doughty said. “I ate about four or five meals a day. A lot of meat. It was a lot of work, a lot of time in the weight room.”
Doughty is almost amazed to think of the football player he was four years ago, as opposed to where he sits right now. The redshirt junior who was a part of coach Gary Andersen’s first recruiting class is now an integral part of Utah State’s defense.
He and fellow linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu (Granger High) and defensive end Al Lapuaho (Granger) are the only three defensive starters who hail from the Wasatch Front. Doughty will replace Kyle Gallagher on the inside, a tall order since Gallagher was among the team leaders in tackles for the last three seasons.
Here is what has coaches excited, though: Doughty has bulked up considerably and is now 230 pounds, strong and just as quick as he was previously. Secondly, Doughty plays as hard as anyone on the defense, and is as smart at making judgements as anyone.
“He diagnoses a play so quickly,” Clune said. “And that gives him a step over his opponents. He’s not a slow guy, he’s a fast guy. He’s a dynamite tackler and he is so intelligent. He’s just prepared to play in every single game.”
Doughty’s talent has shown multiple times during fall camp. Last Wednesday, he hit receiver Cam Webb so hard he had to be helped off the field. Time and again, he’s been in the right place to make a tackle, and has finished with force when given the opportunity.
Safeties coach Billy Busch told his position group once during film study to watch Doughty, and uses him as an example of how to play hard. Off the field, Doughty is hard to miss: He has a mullet haircut that makes him stand out in a crowd.
And, according to the linebacker, it isn’t going away anytime soon.
“Jake’s just a crazy kid off the field in a good way,” said safety Frankie Sutera, also a teammate of his at Juan Diego. “He’s one of those kids you just want to get to know. But he’s a different guy on the field. He’s insane. He’s a great player.”
on twitter: @tonyaggieville