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December 5, 2013

Looking Back At Jason Worilds

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Sometimes it just takes a player a little bit of time to fully find his potential. That may be the case this season with Jason Worilds of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Worilds, who changed his name from Jason Adjepong several years ago, had one of his best games of his NFL career against the Ravens with 10 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble during a tough defeat.

Worilds, who was drafted with the 52nd overall pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Steelers, is having his best professional season this fall. Through 12 games, he has totaled 49 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles, which are already career-highs.

As a rookie in 2010, Worilds saw the majority of his playing time on special teams. He returned in 2011 and made seven starts, which led to a season total of 34 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble. In 2012, Worilds once again split time between linebacker and special teams, but did manage to finish with a career-high five sacks, which was third best on the team.

Worilds started his football career at Carteret High School in New Jersey. After finishing with 87 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks as a junior, Worilds took his game to another level during his senior season and finished with 107 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks.

Recruiting was never really an issue for Worilds as offers came in early and often. By the spring after his junior season he already had double-digit offers, with schools like Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers, Ole Miss, Syracuse, Minnesota and Boston College joining the chase early.

With the offer total reaching 40 by the start of his senior season, Worilds trimmed his list to Virginia Tech, Miami, Michigan, Iowa, Rutgers, Boston College, Georgia and Ohio State. Official visits to Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers and Virginia Tech followed, and after almost committing to the Buckeyes and receiving a strong push from the Scarlet Knights, Worilds committed to the Hokies in early January.

At Virginia Tech, Worilds finished his career as a Hokie with 133 tackles, 34.5 tackles for a loss, 15.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. After dealing with injuries during the 2006 and 2007 seasons at Blacksburg, Worilds came into his own in 2008. He finished with 64 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss and eight sacks.

Before the 2009 season, Worilds was named to several pre-season All-ACC and All-American teams. He totaled 50 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, and led the nation with 38 quarterback pressures.

Worilds was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2006, the No. 7 strongside defensive end nationally and the No. 4 player in New Jersey. At his position, a majority of the top rated recruits never panned out. Some who have experienced a level of success include Adrian Clayborn at No. 8 and Lamarr Houston at No. 6. Geno Atkins at No. 24 is another player who has obviously succeeded at the professional level.

In New Jersey, Worilds was only ranked behind Myron Rolle, Antwine Perez and Knowshon Moreno. Moreno has become the most successful player to come out of New Jersey in 2006, but a case can obviously be made that Worilds has slid into that second spot. Overall his rankings proved to be pretty much on point.

-- Mike Farrell



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