Perhaps no one in the college world has had a quicker meteoric rise than coastal Carolina defensive end Tarron Jackson. The draft buzz on the 6-2 260 lb. prospect has been pretty consistent. He has a high motor, is very athletic, and can be just as disruptive in the run game as he is in the passing game. Recently invited to play in this year’s Reese’s senior bowl, Jackson has something of a media darling for a good reason. Blessed with an ability to set an edge and help shut down a run game. In the passing game, he terrorizes quarterbacks. Jackson is truly the type of player that keeps offensive coordinators up at night. I had a chance to sit down with the rising star ahead of his big game against the undefeated BYU. I had a chance to pick his brain on his playing style, as well as What it has been like playing at Coastal Carolina?
“When it comes to my playing style, I am a guy that plays smart. I don’t go out of my way and play out of position. I understand that in football, to help your team, you have to do your job. You can’t go out trying to do everybody’s job. So I think I am a smart player. I also like to play aggressively but within myself. Meaning, while I like to go hard and play fast, I still stick to my job. I do what they coach me to do. I am blessed to play with some of the greatest guys. We are talented, and we have guys all over the field that can help us win games. That I think is going to play at the next level. We have guys that are smart, tough, and hard workers. My coaches are great. They are leaders and put us in a position to win. I love it at Coastal! I think this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Coming here to play has been a blessing. Back home, my family taught me hard work. I have been a hard worker my whole life, so I fit here perfectly. They expect us to work hard and get it done the right way. So I love it here for that. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”
Hard work pays off! Jackson has tallied 25 career sacks, as well as the most sacks in a season (10). Both are team records. With all the hype on Jackson, as of late, I asked him how he dealt with it all?
“Honestly, I can’t pay that no mind. I really can’t. I need to keep my focus on my team, my work, and my game. I feel like if you start paying attention to all of that, you are going to lose focus and end up messing it all up. I don’t want to be complacent in my everyday work. So as far as all the talk, I let it go in one ear and out the other. Please understand, I appreciate it. I do because I never thought I would get to this point. I dreamed about things like this but never really talked about it out loud. But even with that, I need to keep it behind me and stay on my grind. We have a big game against BYU. We are just getting to the tape because this is new, with all the changes. My focus right now is stopping that offense. I know they are a tough team. The quarterback (Zach Wilson) has gotten a lot of love for his play. So I am just looking at that tape and getting ready for that. All the draft talk can wait because I need to stay on my grind. I owe that to my team. I owe that to my coaches and my family.”
After I spoke with Tarron Jackson, I researched some takes on the Coastal star. I landed on a hot take from Eric Edholm of Yahoo sports.
“Entering the year with mostly fifth-and sixth-round grades. Jackson appears to have helped his cause. His tape against Kansas, when he was living in the backfield (five QB hits), was a great effort against a Power 5 team. This test Saturday will be even better.”
Loving what I saw I asked him (Edholm) to elaborate on the take a bit more.
“It’s tricky because it looks like a deep EDGE class now, depending on who comes out. To me, other than the lack of ideal length and perhaps good but not great testing numbers, I think he’ll put up. You’re talking about a quick guy who shoots gaps well, makes an impact in almost every outing, and appears to be a smart player. I think he’ll be a solid rotational guy for a while in the league.”
Like I always say, look at the film. Make up your mind on the kid. Jackson is a guy that we should hear about at the next level. He is blessed with a real pass rushing gift and a motor that doesn’t seem to quit. Defensive coaches love him, and after speaking with him, I do too. He is the kind of person you cheer on in life. The humble kid from Aiken, South Carolina, has the look of real success. All he needed was a shot.
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