Jay will be a 22-year-old NFL rookie in 2014. Primarily utilized as a linebacker at UMS-Wright Preparatory School in Mobile, AL, he was named All-State and the 4A Lineman of the Year in 2009. He signed with Illinois and started seven of 13 games as a true freshman fullback for head coach Ron Zook.
In 2011, he opened five of 12 games at fullback and made 10 total tackles on special teams. His mother became ill with brain cancer and he received an NCAA waiver to transfer to Auburn without penalty for the 2012 season.
He started for the Tigers and carried the football 12 times for 38 yards (3.2 avg.) with 2 touchdowns, and caught 5 passes for 19 yards. As a senior in 2013, he is again playing regularly as a fullback and H-back. He has not carried the ball this year, but does have 5 receptions for 95 yards (including a long of 56) and a score. He is a business major and is expected to graduate in May 2014.
Jay is a four-year regular as a fullback/H-back, first for Illinois in 2010-2011, and then at Auburn in 2012-2013. He has a classic “weight room” build with a proportioned, highly developed body.
After playing in more of a pro-style offense for the Tigers last year, head coach Gus Malzahn brought back the spread and Jay has been utilized mostly as a blocking back from the F and H positions. From these alignments, he is asked to perform a multitude of assignments that include all sorts of blocks: lead, zone cut, kick out, arc, log, pull and pass pro.
He has some stiffness as an athlete and is not overly agile in space, however, because of his size and will, he is able to make contact and body position himself between the defender and the football. He has a burly upper body and tries to maintain a wide base when squaring up on an opponent. When he is on the move, he will escort the runner to the perimeter and keep the potential tackler on his inside shoulder. Jay is not a picture-perfect blocker, but he does get the job done most of the time with his overall bulk and effort.
As a receiver, he catches the ball well and has been effective on shorter routes to the flats and in short yardage/goal-line situations. For the NFL, Jay has the toughness, blocking ability and hands to make a roster, but will also need to find a role on special teams to solidify his spot on a team.
WHAT NFL SCOUTS WANT TO SEE IN 2013: For Jay to show more lateral change-of-direction skill when in the open-field as both a blocker and on special teams.
-- Phil Savage, Reese's Senior Bowl Executive Director
2013: Washington State, Arkansas State, Ole Miss