Babylon's Jake Carlock can do it all on the football field
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Jake Carlock is a five-tool player, a solar-powered Swiss army knife who is tireless and talented whether lining up at wide receiver, safety, punt returner, kickoff returner or punter.
He is the guy who scored touchdowns in four different ways last season for defending Long Island Class IV champion Babylon
"There's nothing this kid can't do," Panthers coach Rick Punzone said of the 6-2, 205-pound senior. "In my 23 years here, Jake is the best and most versatile player I've ever had. He'd be the quarterback if I asked him to. He's also the most unselfish kid I've ever seen."
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Carlock, a Newsday first-team All-Long Island selection in 2012, scored 11 total touchdowns -- four on receptions, three on interception returns, three on punt returns and one on a kickoff return. He added six two-point conversions while catching 31 passes for 598 yards and making nine interceptions.
His offensive numbers could be even better if the Panthers didn't have so many other offensive tools.
But Carlock, also a starter last winter on the basketball team that became the first in school history to earn a trip to Glens Falls for the state tournament, doesn't mind a bit if childhood pals such as quarterback Nick Santorelli, running back Eric Schweitzer and wide receiver Ray Wardell share in the offensive fireworks show Babylon is sure to stage this season.
"We are a very unselfish team. None of us cares about statistics. The only numbers we care about are the ones on the scoreboard," Carlock said. "We have so many weapons. We are multidimensional. I'd like to think I can be dangerous from anywhere on the field."
He demonstrated that last year. In the Suffolk final against Mount Sinai, Carlock caught a 10-yard slant from Santorelli and turned it into a game-changing 53-yard touchdown with a slick cutback. He also had 5 1/2 tackles and an interception.
During the regular season matchup with Mount Sinai in Week 4, when both teams were undefeated, Carlock scored what proved to be the winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a dazzling 62-yard punt return.
"That's what I like best -- returning kicks," Carlock said. "Especially kickoffs because there is so much open field and I get a chance to be creative. During summer special-teams drills, I always volunteer to take the returns."
He is such a perfectionist that last spring, in an effort to improve his defensive back skills, Carlock worked out on his own after school with an assistant coach at the Our Lady of Grace church football field. They worked on drills that emphasized man and zone technique as well as footwork.
"I'm hoping to earn a scholarship to play college football -- either as a wide receiver or safety," said Carlock, who has drawn interest from Stony Brook and Towson.
It won't be hard for recruiters to spot Carlock this fall since he rarely leaves the field. He punts and is even the team's long-snapper for place kicks.
"I'm perfectly fine doing all that," he said. "The only time I'm not on the field is when we're kicking off, but you won't find me complaining."
Punzone loves Carlock's unstoppable motor.
"He doesn't care how I use him. He doesn't care if he gets the ball or has to block," the coach said. "We have a lot of weapons on offense but it's my job to get him 15 touches a game -- not because he wants me to but just because he's so good and it's the right thing to do."
Of Carlock's college chances, Punzone said, "That's definitely in his future. He doesn't have 4.5 speed so he's probably not a wide receiver. But on defense, his ball skills are second to none and he has instincts you can't coach. He sees things that no one else sees."
Indeed, Carlock is the sharpest tool in the Babylon shed.