Jake was born in Dallas, Texas, the son of Deborah Gale (née Stallings) and John Allen McDorman III. He has a younger sister, Morgan, and an older half-sister, Amanda. He studied acting at the Dallas Young Actors Studio and attended Richardson High School, Westwood Junior High and Northwood Hills Elementary in Texas.
Jake starred in the Fox sitcom Quintuplets from 2004 to 2005, and later guest-starred on House, CSI: Miami and Cold Case. He made his film debut in the 2005 thriller Echoes of Innocence, and later has appeared in Aquamarine, Bring It On: All or Nothing and Live Free or Die Hard. From 2007 to 2011, he starred as Evan Chambers in the ABC Family teen drama series Greek. He also played the lead role in the 2011 Lifetime movie The Craigslist Killer.
In 2012, Jake played the male lead role opposite Laura Prepon in the short-lived NBC sitcom Are You There, Chelsea?. He later joined the cast of Showtime comedy-drama, Shameless as Mike Pratt. He starred in the film See You in Valhalla opposite Sarah Hyland, and in 2014 co-starred in Clint Eastwood’s film American Sniper. Also in 2014, Jake was cast in the male lead role opposite actress Analeigh Tipton in the ABC romantic comedy series, Manhattan Love Story. In 2015, he starred in CBS’s Limitless as Brian Finch, a young man who uses a mysterious drug called “NZT” to enhance his intelligence to help the FBI solve cases. The TV series continues the story of the motion picture of the same name. After the first season, the show was cancelled.
In 2018, Jake joined the cast of the TV revival of Murphy Brown on CBS, as Avery Brown. Sadly, the show was cancelled after one season. In the same year, he guest-starred in the TV adaptation of What We Do in the Shadows as Gregor/Jeff Suckler. He is set to star in the Nat Geo series, The Right Stuff, as Alan Shepard, which is slated to premiere in 2020.