Certainly, Jacobs, a sophomore at FDU, is not lacking in confidence. He will compete in the National Invitational meet at Cole Field House in College Park Friday night and said, "I plan to win the thing and just stop. If I'm jumping very well and the surface is perfect, I might go higher, but right now the win will be enough." One of his competitors will be Olympic silver medalist Greg Joy, who cleared 7-4 last week.
Jacobs expects to hit that 7-8 before the indoor season is over, however. That would be the highest attained anywhere, since Soviet Vladimir Yashchenko holds the outdoor mark of 7-7 3/4 and Superstars hopeful Dwight Stonees owns the indoor standard of 7-6 1/2.
"Ive been jumping 7-1 in flats with sweats," Jacobs said, "and my confidence is built up a lot more than last year. I'm positive I can go 7-8 during the indoor season."
As a high school senior in Paterson, N.J., Jacobs was such a leaping basketball player that the basketball coach suggested he try the high jump.
"I hesitated, then gave it a try," Jacobs said. "I had never been even watched the high jump, which is why I've developed my own style. I told myself that if I jumped well in my first try I'd stick with it, otherwise I'd give it up. I jumped 6-1 and my teammates said that was really good, so I stayed with it."
By the state meet he managed 6-8 and, 14 months later, in placing second to Stones at the National AAU, he cleared 7-5 1/4, a record 21 1/4 inches above his height.
Jacobs is a flopper with a difference. He achieves more arch from his back with his twisting, takeoff, so much so that on a couple of occasions he has cracked his knee into his head. He has no plans to alter anything, although conceding that when a Track and Field News typographer altered the distinctive "Jacobs Slope" to Jacops Slop, he wasn't far off.
'Slop had something to do with it," Jacobs said. "My technique would be really bad if I were considered just as a flopper. But some high school coaches told me I did a lot of things well, and if I felt comfortable to stay with it, just work in some other things. Regular floppers can't arch their backs as much as I can and it helps me put a lot of snap into it."
Like Stones, Jacobs is more comfortable indoors, without concern for the weather. Rain destroyed Stones at Montreal and Jacobs admits it could befoul him, too.
"My plant is very powerful, like an explosion," Jacobs said, "and my approach is very fast. In rain I'd be afraid I might fall. But I don't think it would cut me back as much as from 7-6, to say, 7 feet."
Jacobs' legs are something special and he does not need weight work to increase his spring. He does utilize isometrics, however, to compensate for torn cartilage in his right leg.
"I take off on my left, so the cartilage is not a big problem," Jacobs said. "It happened early in the outdoor season last year and it's still there."
Jacobs is no longer concerned with the long drop after a jump, although he said of his first try at 7-3/4: "Watching the bar placed so high over my head seemed bizarre, My stomach was turning and I had cramps. It was as if you were climbing a wall that had no end."
Right now it's Jacobs' potential that knows no end.