Stevens: Jacobsen Found A Vision For Giving by Looking Around -- Not up!
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/19/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Sept. 19, 2011

Weekly Notes Vs. Sam Houston StateGet Acrobat Reader


New Mexico Lobos Football -- At University Stadium

Who: Sam Houston State Bearkats at Lobos
When: 4 p.m., Saturday
On The Air: No TV; 770-AM KKOB, Lobo Radio Network; pre-game 1 p.m.

Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

In a way, you can say Lobo junior Evan Jacobsen found success through failure and found a vision of giving by looking around and not up.

The failure, of sorts, came when Jacobsen was 14 and in Russia with his father, Donald, trying to conquer an 18,549-foot peak called Mount Elbrus. The Jacobsens didn't "summit" the climb and when Evan no longer was looking up at the monster hill that had challenged and beat him - he looked around.

He didn't like what he saw. He saw people taking a beating from life. He saw more wealth in his climbing gear than he saw in the shacks around him.

"I had seen poverty in our ghettos, but our poverty is not like world poverty," said Jacobsen. "In Russian, near Elbrus, there was real poverty, shameful poverty. It was so awful seeing how those people had to live.

"I felt horrible seeing those conditions and realizing that that I lived in all this luxury back home. I just felt I wanted to do something about it. I felt I needed to give back."

From that poverty and from that experience, an idea and a charity was born. The Jacobsen's returned home to Laguna Niguel, Calif., and started a charity called "Summit7" - an organization (Summit7.org) that raises money to build houses in the seven countries that provide the seven peaks the Jacobsens plan to climb.

"I feels so good to give back, to help a family find a home," said Jacobsen. "I am so blessed and thankful to have been raised by great parents and to be living in America. I just felt the need to give back. These people have almost nothing as far as possessions, but they are so happy with life.

"I miss being part of the O-line. The O-line guys are the craziest, smartest, best-looking guys on a team. We get all the girls."
Deep Snapper Evan Jacobsen

"We have so much in America and so many of us really don't know what people in the rest of the world go through."

The storied summits the Jacobsen plan to climb as sparks for their charity are Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Mt. Elbrus (Russia), Mt. Kosciuszko (Australia), Mt. Aconcagua (Argentina), Mt. Denali (Alaska), Mt. Vinson Massif (Antarctica), and - of course - Mt. Everest (Nepal).

Evan said he got the bug to climb from his father, a climber.

"I was a Boy Scout and hiked around, but my dad was a real climber," said Jacobsen. "He climbed Denali and Aconcagua and he'd come back and tell me all these great stories.

"He'd tell me a different part of his climbing stories every day and I got sick of hearing them and not being part of them. I told him I was coming along."

The seven peaks were supposed to have been conquered by this date, but Jacobsen ran into a little snag - football. Football surely can deliver a physical beating, but the ascent into the clouds also has more than a few blows to toss out.

In Evan's junior year at San Clemente High, he was a seasoned climber and ready for a nasty challenge - Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. Aconcagua is a stony, unforgiving face of rock laced by snow and ice. It is the highest peak in the world not located in Asia. It's the Mount Everest of South America.

Evan made the climb, even had to do some high school homework at the summit, but there was a price to pay for the three-week-plus journey into the sky. Evan lost 21 pounds.

"My high school coaches weren't happy," he said. "It took me a month to get my strength back and a couple of months to get my snap back. I had to put the climbing on hold.

"I knew football was going to only be here for a short time and the mountains weren't going away. The mountain just beat downs on you physically and mentally, but the real challenge is the mental part. You have to respect the mountain and what it throws in front of you. I respect any mountain."

Evan the mountain climber might be on a short sabbatical, but Evan the Lobo football player and long snapper is in full gear - football gear.

He came to New Mexico three seasons back rated as the No. 1 long snapper in prep ball. Like his venture into climbing, he didn't reach that status without a lot of work.

He saw how a few snappers were actually getting full-rides to play college ball. "I said, `Why not me?' So, I worked my butt off," said Jacobsen.

Evan was first approached by former Lobo Coach Rocky Long's staff. When Mike Locksley took over the program three seasons back, he extended the full-ride offer. Evan jumped on it.

"I started snapping in about the fifth grade for the Southern Orange County Patriots," he said. "I was the center and we actually had a guy who could punt and we needed somebody who could snap the ball to him. I got pretty decent at it.

"Then I wanted to be the best at it. I pushed myself. I was a midget kid, but I could get it back there. Maybe not that fast."

Junior Evan Jacobsen

Evan's snap got faster. His skills also are appreciated at the D-I level. As any coach - or fan - can tell you, you want the ball to get to the punter fast and true. Evan can do that. What he misses is the contact.

There is a bit of irony in Evan's full-ride to play a game of full contact. He plays a position in which it is illegal for the defender to inflict a physical blow until after Evan has done his snapping thing.

Of course, after the snap, Evan can seek out contact. Which he does.

"I love the contact and I miss it," he said. "I snap, back up and block the defender in the A gap, but then I get downfield and look for someone to hit.

"There is usually somebody that gets to the runner before me, but I have gotten in some hits. I love jumping on the piles.

"I miss being part of the O-line. The O-line guys are the craziest, smartest, best-looking guys on a team. We get all the girls."

Of course, don't expect the rest of the Lobos players (not on the O-line) to agree with Evan's assessment of those O-line intangibles and special attributes. And the other position Lobos would have a good reason to dismiss Evan's gaudy evaluation.

Altitude sickness!


Summit7 is a non-profit organization raising funds for housing projects in the countries of Tanzania, Russia, Nepal, Australia, Argentina and the U.S. Summit7's goal is to raise money over the next several years in conjunction with their efforts to summit the tallest peak on each of the world's seven continents.

Summit7 has designated Habitat for Humanity, The Fuller Center for Housing, and other international home building charities as the beneficiaries for all funds raised through their efforts for the countries noted above. Summit7 has selected the International Arctic Research Center for the study of global environmental issues to receive funds in conjunction with their Antarctica climb.