RENO, Nev. (BVM) — Jax Leatherwood had a whirlwind of a junior year of high school. He took community college classes along with his regular high school courses. He led his football team to the state championship and won. He received offers from multiple Division I schools to play football, he committed to play for Nevada and that was just his junior year.
Leatherwood is a 6-foot-6 quarterback from San Diego. He began his tackle football career his freshman year of high school but it did not become very serious for him until this past year, his junior year.
“[Football] was more of a ‘just for fun’ thing but now it’s […] what I could see my career being in the future and I take it a lot more seriously,” Leatherwood said.
He did not realize how successful he could be until his junior year, when he threw for 3,915 yards and 52 touchdowns.
“Our team was so solid,” Leatherwood said, “I was able to be the leader of that team. And I […] realized once the season started happening, ‘oh I could really make something out of myself.’”
And that he did.
During his first season on the varsity squad at Scripps Ranch High School, Leatherwood led his team all the way to a state championship.
Just a few months later, Leatherwood received his first college offer. From then on, everything began to move very quickly. After his initial offer from Nevada, Leatherwood visited the school in April and immediately felt at home.
“I loved the coaching staff,” Leatherwood said. “I loved the aspect of Reno […] The campus was great and being from San Diego, I kind of wanted to get out of San Diego and branch out for my college and I […] felt like UNR gave me a homey feel but in a different place so I felt comfortable going there for my next four years.”
So, on April 12, Leatherwood committed to play Division I football for the Wolfpack.
Now, all that’s left for Leatherwood to do is have an incredible senior season, win a state championship again, graduate early from high school and begin attending UNR in January. It might seem like a lot to accomplish, but Leatherwood is confident in his abilities and his teammates’ abilities for this upcoming school year.
“[I want] to try to lead my team to win as many games as we can,” Leatherwood said.
But his senior year might present more of a challenge than meets the eye.
“We have a lot of seniors that just graduated unfortunately so our entire offense besides one player is not returning,” Leatherwood said. “It’s me and one offensive lineman from last year so we’re bringing up a lot of JV kids [and] a couple transfers. It’s kind of a restart. So with this new team, all I’m focused on is trying to be a leader.”
His ultimate goal for next season? Winning another state championship. When asked if he thinks his new team could accomplish such a feat, he answered without hesitation.
“I’m always an optimistic person so for now, I’m going to answer ‘yes, I believe we could,’” Leatherwood said with a hopeful smile.
But football isn’t the only thing that Leatherwood will be focusing on this coming fall. He will be taking two community college classes in the fall in order to graduate early and begin attending UNR in the spring semester of 2023.
Once there, he’ll begin taking classes in business and sports management. Although his overall career goal is to eventually play in the NFL, Leatherwood is especially excited to learn more about sports management and have a career to fall back on if being a professional football player does not work out for him.
Football, though, is Leatherwood’s passion and he cannot wait to carry on his dreams and passions at Nevada.
“I’m just really excited to get there,” Leatherwood said with a smile. “I can’t wait to be a part of it.”