by Malik Vincent
Like so many from the area, former Central Catholic and Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis is making a push to play football, professionally.
Sure, he stands at a very compact 5-foot-6. And yes, Jarvis has battled injury all throughout his career as a Golden Flash.
|HOPING TO GO PRO—Eugene Jarvis, a four-year letterman at Kent State and former Central Catholic runningback carries the ball during a game. (Photo courtesy of Kent State athletics)
But he still maintains hope that there will be an opportunity for him to take to the gridiron on Sundays.
“It’s easy to get deterred or discouraged whenever you’re doubted so heavily,” Jarvis said. “(NFL scouts) have said I’m too small and that I’ve suffered too many injuries. And I understand that it’s a business, so I have to keep striving.”
After being one of the top players in the WPIAL, Jarvis took his talents to Kent State, where he was an All-Mid American Conference (MAC) performer in two separate seasons.
Still, Jarvis has a long list of skeptics that doubt his value to the league.
Joe Butler has evaluated high school and college talent, nationally, for the past 35 years. He currently looks at these players for a local NFL agent that he’d like to remain nameless.
“I do not think (Jarvis’) name will be called at this year’s draft,” Butler said. “Do I think he has a chance to get to a camp? Yes. And do I think he’s got a shot to impress when he gets there? Absolutely.”
Jarvis amassed over 3,700 rushing yards over his four-year collegiate career, which is good for third all-time in Kent State history. That is one spot ahead of current Cleveland Brown’s wide receiver Joshua Cribbs and was good for second place amongst all active career rushers in major college football.
In addition to his accomplishments on the field, he graduated from the University with a degree in Sports Management.
“There were many obstacles that I had to get around to get to this point,” Jarvis mentioned.
One of those was before the 2009 regular season when Jarvis suffered a season ending injury when he lacerated a rib against Boston College. Due to that he had to take a medical redshirt, but was granted a 6th year in the 2010-11 season.
“Fighting all the injuries was definitely tough both mentally and physically,” he said. “It was really beginning to take a toll on me.”
It has been a climb for Jarvis since being named an SI.com All-American team honorable mention (which was the same season he earned a spot on the All-MAC conference first team). That season, he rushed for 1,669 yards on 279 attempts.
That year, he led the MAC in rushing yards per game with a 139.1 average, which also ranked fifth, nationally.
“My sophomore season was amazing,” Jarvis said. “I had a tremendous amount of success executing plays when they were called and my offensive line did the same thing. It was a great time in my career.”
After playing runningback his whole career, Jarvis moved on to the pass-happy Canadian Football League where, despite his size, he entered the Montreal Alouette’s camp as a slot receiver; a move that wasn’t unfathomable due to his success in college catching the ball. During that sophomore season, he caught 23 passes and led the team with 309 receiving yards.
“They knew what kind of athlete I was,” he said. “And they knew I was going to take the opportunity head on and make the best of it.”
He was cut before the beginning of the regular season, but the 175-pound running back is currently preparing for this year’s NFL draft that will take place in New York on Apr 26.
“He has shown much resilience to be healthy and ready to cease an opportunity on a pro roster,” said Brandon Westbrook a close friend to Jarvis. “At the end of the day he has proven his worth on the field as a leader and record breaking running back, each and every chance he has had. The next team to take that chance will reap the rewards.”
The New York based Westbrook is a Pittsburgh native and is the founder of Westbrook & Company, which is the marketing and management consultancy that will see Jarvis through his pursuit of the NFL.