JACKSON”S PALlOTTA VERBALLY COMMITS TO MASSACHUSETTS
Jackson quarterback Jaret Pallotta can rest easy heading into his senior season. As far as his college choice is concerned, that is. Pallotta put the finishing touches on a banner year for Polar Bear athletics by announcing his verbal commitment to play football at the University of Massachusetts. Pallotta will play for head coach Mark Whipple, who is well known for his offensive prowess at both the professional and collegiate levels. Whipple helped Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger capture a Super Bowl in his second professional season.
“Jaret hit it off with coach Whipple,” Jackson coach Tim Budd said. “He spent time in the NFL, he a pro style coach, and that fits Jaret's skill set. Jaret was their guy, and it was important to him that he was the guy they really wanted and he wasn't their fifth, sixth or seventh offer. He's going to major in business, and they have the 35th ranked business school in America. It was a great combination of styleof offense, academics and the ability for him to come in and play pretty early.”
A 30 year coaching veteran, Whipple is in his second stint as head coach at UMass. He guided the Minutemen to the 1998 FCS National Championship with a 55-43 triumph over Georgia Southern in the title game. Although the program has struggled since moving up to the Division I level in 2012, Budd said Pallotta didn't see that as a negative.
“He liked the challenge, and he wanted to be part of the solution for them to get it going there,” Budd said. “We talked a lot about that. The two head coaching jobs I've taken, there were long playoff droughts involved. I really enjoyed being part of turnarounds and getting programs back in the playoffs. Although challenging, we talked quite a bit about how it can be very rewarding to step in and create tradition instead of following tradition.”
Pallotta, who chose Umass over Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Davidson and Georgetown, led Jackson to its first playoff berth by throwing for a school record 2041 yards and 18 touchdowns during his junior season in 2016. Those totals earned him honorable mention All Ohio honors, and he was a starter on Jackson's Division I State Championship basketball team. Pallotta become the fifth athlete from that squad to sign at the Division I level, joining teammates Kyle Young (Butler basketball), Logan Hill (Toledo basketball), Kyle Nicolas (Ball State baseball) and Dillon Dingler (Ohio State baseball).
“He's put on 25 pounds of muscle,” Budd said of his quarterback. “I think the sky's the limit. When his college career is done he'll probably be 6'5” 240 and athletic. He certainly does have work to do, but I think we're just starting to scratch the surface.”