BELLEVUE — Myles Jack could only watch as his money was swindled away by some freshman, stuffing his face with omelets, pancakes and chicken strips from IHOP.
Jack knew he shouldn’t have asked his brother, Jahlen, to take out the trash.
Sitting in his car after another long football practice, Jack changed his clothes and threw them into a trash bag in the back of his car. He also placed both his white and blue No. 21 Bellevue Wolverines football jerseys in the bag so he could wash them when he got home, he said.
Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff was fuming. Jack was late to the Wolverines’ walkthrough the following day as they prepared for their Oct. 12 game against No. 3 Mount Si because he couldn’t find his jersey, the player said.
“That morning I was getting ready to leave for school and I told my brother to take out the trash,” Jack said. “I just didn’t feel like doing it myself. The bag with my clothes was sitting outside in the garage and Jahlen grabbed it and threw it away. When coach found out about it, he was real mad.
“It wasn’t a good day it was a long day.”
No matter what number is on his jersey when he faces Mount Si for the second time this season today in the Class 3A semifinals at the Tacoma Dome, he will be the player almost everyone will be watching.
But even though Jack, who has committed to UCLA, is considered by many to be the top defensive player in the state and competing with Max Browne, Skyline’s USC-bound quarterback, for status as the top recruit in the state, it didn’t give him a free pass at a freshman’s jersey.
“The deal was if I took him to IHOP, I could have his jersey,” Jack said, smiling and shaking his head. “He ordered a bunch of stuff. Unnecessary stuff, like cinnamon in his hot cocoa. I was like, really? Then there was omelets, pancakes, chicken strips it was crazy.”
The Wolverines’ hybrid linebacker and defensive end has much more technique when dealing hard hits to running backs than dealing with freshmen, and is a lot better at taking out quarterbacks than taking out the trash. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Jack has 19 sacks this season, forced 17 turnovers and makes more big plays than Shakespeare – just look for him on YouTube.
He has also helped Bellevue (12-0) retain the top 3A ranking in the state, and reach the No. 2 rank in the country behind Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.), according to ESPN.com.
“I’ve never seen a kid in my 10 years of coaching dominate a game like he does at defensive end,” Goncharoff said. “He has been doubled, chipped with a back, cut (blocked), but the way he uses his hands and the way he plays is just amazing.”
Jack wasn’t even an all-league player last season but now he has drawn the attention of almost every coach in the Pacific-12 Conference.
One of his biggest games came in Bellevue’s 45-0 win against Lincoln in the district playoffs Nov. 3. He sacked Abes quarterback J’Maka Love six times – and that was in only the first half.
“I don’t even think I’ve been hit six times when I’ve dropped back throughout the whole year,” Wolverines quarterback Jack Meggs said.
No. 3 Mount Si will certainly make him a primary focus today.
“If people aren’t watching him, I don’t know who they are watching,” Goncharoff said. “We’ve had guys like Matt Coombs, Owen Biddle, Julious Moore and Kendrick Van Ackeren who were state defensive players of the year before, and if Myles isn’t it this year, they really shouldn’t give one out.”
Jack was born in Dacula, Ga., and moved to Washington the summer before his freshman year, which was the same year his parents divorced. His mother, LaSonjia Jack, worked for T-Mobile and was transferred to the Northwest. He said he thinks his father lives in either Arizona or Georgia and doesn’t communicate with him much except for occasional texts.
Jack heard Bellevue and Skyline were the top schools in the state. Bellevue was coming off its sixth state championship in eight years and he thought highly of Goncharoff’s demeanor when they met, so he chose to play for the Wolverines.
Now Jack hopes to collect his fourth state championship.
“Best decision of my life,” Jack said.
But LaSonjia Jack’s job took her and her family back to Georgia at the end of his sophomore year. Jack enrolled at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Ga., and played spring football with the team before breaking a bone in his left leg during practice.
“That was one of the hardest times for me, personally,” Jack said. “I think that made me a lot of why I am the way I am now. I just know the game can be taken from me at any time so I try to make the most of every moment.”
Jack played two games at Peachtree Ridge as a junior before his mother got a job at Microsoft and moved back to Washington.
“I remember talking with my athletic director (Lance Gatter) and he said, ‘Hey, I just got off the phone with Myles’ mom. He’s coming back,’ ” Goncharoff said. “I thought, ‘Oh, that’s great.’
“But then he said, ‘Yeah, he’s coming back now.’ I was like, ‘Wow, great!’ So, yeah, we were excited to have him back.”
But Jack was still trying to get in shape after sitting most of the offseason and summer while his broken leg healed, so he didn’t have much of an impact as a junior back at Bellevue.
Only those inside the Bellevue program saw Jack’s potential. That included UCLA coach Jim Mora, who previously volunteered in the program and whose son, Cole Mora, is the Bellevue student body president.
“He is just so athletic and big,” Meggs said. “He is like a college guy playing high school football. It’s crazy to think that high school people have to block him.”
Even if Jack doesn’t get a fourth title this year, he has plenty of football left in his future.
And if anyone happens to stumble upon that No. 21 Bellevue football jersey that found its way into the trash, just go find Myles Jack.
At the very least, you might enjoy an all-you-can eat breakfast.