Rancho Santa Fe native continues sports success on ‘thriving’ University of Arizona team
By Rob LeDonne
One of the biggest stars to come out of the Torrey Pines football program in recent years is Rancho Santa Fe native Jacob Alsadek, the towering 6-foot-7-inch athlete who collected a variety of notable accomplishments during his time in North County, including being named one of the top 300 high school athletes in the country, helping his team win the Surf Cup, and being named a Union Tribune Scholar-Athlete.
These days, Alsadek has managed to continue his charmed sports career as a freshman offensive lineman for University of Arizona’s Wildcats. “I feel good so far this season,” said Alsadek on a recent Wednesday morning from the University’s campus in Tucson. “You always want to do better, though. I want to get better and better as time goes on, so I’m never really satisfied.”
It’s that defiant attitude which made Alsadek a standout during his time at Torrey Pines. However, Alsadek explains, playing college football is an entirely different experience from playing in high school.
“I thought I was strong when I was in high school,” he said. “Then, I come out here and realize that everyone’s strong and big ... I’m still one of the stronger guys on the team, but in high school I was able to completely overpower somebody without trying, and here I have to pay attention to my technique. Back in high school, I didn’t have to worry about any of that because nobody was as big as me!”
Aside from the expanding physicality of the players, Alsadek also points out that playing for a club like the Arizona Wildcats, an NCAA team in the Pac 12 conference, involves a bit more dedication than what he was initially used to.
“I’m at the next level right now where all my hard work is paying off,” he explains. “Football means a lot more to me than it did back in Torrey Pines; now I put way more time, and more of my heart, into it.”
Alsadek also quickly learned the difference between high school and college games. “I thought a lot of people went to our high school games,” he said. “I recently had a (Wildcat) game up in Oregon, and it got so loud that my ears were ringing and the turf was shaking.”
The past season for the Wildcats has been a notable one: Since the season began, the team has lost only a single game (against USC on Oct. 11).
Besides that blemish, the Wildcats have reigned victorious over Washington State, Cal, and the University of Oregon, leading to a recent Sports Illustrated headline that called the team “thriving.” Much of the credit goes to Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez and a rejuvenated team, which includes Alsadek.
Alsadek acknowledged he has come a long way from his humble beginnings at Torrey Pines, especially from his first game as a freshman.
One factor that helped him throughout his entire career, he said, were his parents, Sophia and Louay Alsadek. “Both my parents have been huge influences on me; my father works extremely hard and so does my mom. Because of that, it helped me develop as a person.”
Another factor in his success is a pure love of the game, which shone through during his very first match as a Wildcat. “It was a highlight,” he recalled. ”Before I went out, I gave my mom a hug and didn’t say anything to her because I couldn’t talk, since I was so nervous.
“I had so much fun being back on the field playing this sport that I love so much. To put in enough work to be able to play ... it means a lot to me, and I fully realize how special the opportunities I have are.”