Georgia Tech linebacker Quez Jackson is a legit playmaker. He is strong against the run and plays downhill. He is big enough to play in space. There is quite a bit of draft buzz on the Fort Valley product whose stock is on the rise as of late. Although he will be returning to help the Yellow Jackets next season, it is never too soon to look towards the future. In Jacksons’ case, the future is bright! I had the opportunity to speak to Jackson and pick his brain. I asked him about his playing style, the pressures of playing in the ACC, and what it is like hearing the draft buzz?
Before I sat down with the rising star, I reached out to my scouting source to ask him his thoughts on Jacksons, play?
“To me, he is the new style of an athlete at the linebacker position. He is a 6’1-6’2 player who weighs around 225. He is a big guy with great athletic ability and is also a thumper. He does not play scared and always seems to be coming downhill on plays. I like his vision, he seems to always be in the right place at the right time. I think he can better at all the little things. But for the most part, the kid is a legit prospect. I think he can play in space and cover. He can play in a box and stop the run. To me, Georgia Tech has been a disappointment to watch this season, but he has been a bright spot. I am glad he is going back to school and feel he is a guy that will get drafted. If he can continue his growth, he will be a name we start will continually hear about him. I would like to meet him and see about his personality, I know you have spoken glowingly about him, but I want to see the mental and emotional part of it for him. He could be a star in the making, or just be a good linebacker. Both ways I think he has a good shot.”
This season Jackson has 80 tackles, including a sack and two interceptions. It speaks volumes when looking at his covering skills. I sat down and asked Jackson about his playing style, as well as what it is like playing in the ACC?
“I feel like my playing style is pretty straight forward. I want to be the hardest worker in the building. I want to be the best teammate and player I can be. I know that I am one piece of a bigger puzzle if we want to be successful. I do whatever my coaches ask of me. I am pretty instinctive and know what is going on in front of me. I have been well-coached, so I can diagnose the play quickly and react to it. I take pride in knowing my reads and knowing my job. I know what the guys around me are doing. You have to be aware of your surroundings in everything. So I take that approach. As far as playing in the ACC? I think that football is football, but I know we play big boy football here. I don’t let the pressures of it get to me. You can’t focus on the pressures you just need to go out and do your job. You play the schedule assigned and grind. The talent in the ACC is exciting, but I feel like I can play at this level. I just love to play ball.”
Over the past few months the draft buzz, on Jackson, has really started booming. I also asked him his thoughts on all the hype?
“It’s nice, but to be honest, it doesn’t matter right now. It’ is great to hear, but that is all it is at this point. I need to keep my focus on what I am doing. What is in front of me? I need to focus on what I can control. Football isn’t forever, and you have to enjoy it while you have it. So I am just enjoying the journey right now. These days are the ones I love. The hard work we are all putting in to be successful. This is a team game, so without them, I would just be a guy. While the draft buzz is cool, I keep my head on what is in front of me. All the draft talk can come later.”
I will finish this article the same way I always do. Watch the tape, and decide for yourself. Quez has the playing style and tools that defensive coordinators covet. He is strong in both the run and passing game. What stands out the most to me, is his personality. His mental and emotional maturity truly shines when you speak with him. This in itself makes him a great leader. While he is going back to school, to finish what he started. Pay close attention to the Linebacker from Georgia Tech.