Safety Net: Jarrett Has It Covered

Jaiquawn Jarrett ( Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE)

The New England Patriots were one of the teams to talk to Temple safety Jaiqwuan Jarrett. The talented DB spoke with Patriots Insider to share his Draft story. According to some reports, Jarrett who was originally slotted to be a mid to late pick has been climbing Draft boards and could go as early as the second or third round.

Temple University isn't exactly known as a powerhouse football program, but that doesn't mean there aren't good football players who go there.  Terrance Knighton, a Connecticut product who generated some buzz late in the pre -Draft cycle, put Temple back on the map when he was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft.  

Knighton is a great example of a good player who made the most of his time at Temple to gain enough scouting attention to move from a late round prospect to a third round Draft pick.  Temple safety Jaiquawn Jarrett hopes to experience the same success after putting in long hours and hard work preparing for the 2011 NFL Draft.

In an interview with Patriots Insider in mid April Jarrett explained that the waiting was tough, but he felt he'd done enough to get the scout's attention.

The road to the NFL hasn't exactly been easy for the Brooklyn native.  Temple was the only school to offer Jarrett a scholarship coming out of Fort Hamilton high school in NY, and he appreciated the coaching staff for having faith in him.  He also appreciated that the program is improving each year.

‘My time Temple has been great," Jarrett said. "From winning four games my freshman year to winning nine games my junior year and eight my senior year.  I would say that my four years have college have progressed each year and that the coaches there have helped me become the player that I am today."

After finishing his schooling at Temple last year, Jarrett has been focused on football.

"I got my degree in criminal justice in December, and since then I've been training in Florida for the months of January and February," Jarrett explained.  "I went to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, and those were great experiences. Since then I've been training in Philly with my strength coach Tony Decker to get ready for individual workouts for teams.

Jarrett along with DT Muhammad Wilkerson and MLB Elijah Joseph are Temple's three best Draft prospects.  Both Wilkerson and Jarrett have drawn interest from a number of teams during their draft preparations, working out for and visiting NFL teams.

It was the Senior Bowl where Jarrett first showed up on the national radar screen.  "It was pretty exciting to go and compete against some of the best players in college football," Jarrett said of his experience in Mobile.  "I was the first player from Temple to go there in a long time."
Knighton, who has also kept an eye on Jarrett's career, has kept in touch with his former teammate.

"He'd call me a couple times," Jarrett said of Knighton.  "He called me just before the combine to offer some advice." What was the advice?  "Just to stay focused, ‘this is what you do', and to just go out there and enjoy it. "

Jarrett and Knighton know each other well from just hanging out after practice, or around the football team. The pair also worked hard to improve Temple's defense which has gathered compliments from opponents and coaches alike.  The toughest players Jarrett said he had to face came out of the Big East and the Big Ten.  "Donald Brown from Connecticut and the receiver Derrick Williams from Penn State were the toughest," Jarrett said. "Those are tremendous players and great athletes. They made great plays for their team when they needed them. They're great players all around."

Soon Jarrett will have an opportunity to see those players again, possibly as an opponent again.  Brown was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, while Williams went in the third round to the Detroit Lions.

With so many talented players available, but carrying a background of issues off the field, Jarrett stands out from the crowd.  "I wouldn't say that was a concern for teams," Jarrett responded. " Those types of questions rarely came up."

Any team looking for safety help is looking the right direction when evaluating Jarrett.

In 49 games at Temple, Jarrett recorded 299 tackles, 18 passes defended, 9 interceptions, a pair of forced fumbles and two fumble returns.  He led the Owls in tackles his senior season with 74 (41 solo).  Named 2010 first team All-MAC, Jarrett also grabbed Temple's 2010 Owl Award for the team's MVP and a Captain's Award. He's also a former recipient of the 2009 J. Myron Honigman Award for Spirit, Dedication & Loyalty.

For more on our Q &A With Jaiquawn Jarrett, including what he thought of his workout for teams including the Patriots ( click here )

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