OAKLEY — If you asked Oakley High School senior Jake Pulsipher about the prospect of playing college football a couple years ago, he wouldn’t have had too much confidence in it.
Fast-forward to his senior year, and things have changed.
After a stellar senior season, in which he led the Hornets to a 1A Division I state championship appearance, Pulsipher is moving on to the next level. On Wednesday, he signed his letter of intent to play football at Rocky Mountain College.
“I came into high school weighing, like 104 pounds,” Pulsipher said. “I just got educated, hit the weight room as much as I could and put the work in because I wanted it. It came down, the opportunity, and I had to take it.”
Pulsipher said he’s going to study small business management at Rocky Mountain, where he plans on playing as a slot receiver.
Due to injuries that plagued the Oakley football team all season, Pulsipher played a wide variety of positions, and can contribute as a running back, receiver, and defensive back, but said he does like playing offense and is excited for his upcoming role.
“I do like offense because you always get the chance at making a big play with the ball,” Pulsipher said. “If it ever comes to me playing defense, I’d be more than willing to play defensive back, too.”
Pulsipher also considered an offer from University of Montana Western, along with a chance to take a preferred walk-on spot at Montana State University. Playing 8-man football, it’s not quite as easy to get noticed, but Pulsipher made sure he did with outstanding play on both sides of the ball.
The senior earned All-Idaho honors as both a receiver and a defensive back. He compiled 1,952 yards and 19 touchdowns on 177 touches, while intercepting seven passes and returning three for scores.
In the state semifinal game, Pulsipher had a forced fumble and broke up two fourth-down passes in the last few minutes of the game to preserve Oakley’s lead. In the state title game against Valley, he had two long touchdown runs to go along with two interceptions on defense, showing that he can do it on the big stage, too.
All that, despite coming at the 8-man level, got Pulsipher noticed, and he’s excited that standout players from the smaller schools can get looked at, too.
“We may not have as many good athletes, but there’s definitely some great athletes in 8-man,” Pulsipher said.
Pulsipher only played his final two seasons at Oakley, coming over after playing at West Side High School. He said that, when he showed up to a preseason camp, he immediately got the sense of culture, brotherhood and it made him want to be a part of it because he could sense success would come.
That was the same feeling he got at Rocky Mountain, where he feels he’ll fit in with the camaraderie and closeness that emulates what he got to experience at Oakley.
“Getting the chance to be a part of one of the best conferences in NAIA [is exciting],” Pulsipher said. “I’m just excited to be part of a program when I never thought I would have been playing college football two or three years ago.”