"We lost up front," Jackson said. "Our offensive line couldn't block the defense, they were sending more guys than we could block. Then, defensively as a unit, we missed a lot of tackles. I'd say about forty tackles were missed."
While it's always hard to find a silver lining in blowout losses, Jackson was aware of one noticeable improvement in his game. After an offseason full of grueling workouts focusing on "leg strength and technique at the point of attack," Jackson said that he was able to play the run much better than in the past.
"I played the run better than I had in the previous years in a preseason game we had last week and then the real deal last Friday," Jackson said. "There's a big improvement in my ability to play the run now."
Jackson and the rest of his Gladiator teammates will hope for a change of fortune in the team's next game against Countryside High School.
In the meantime, Jackson will have his hands full with academic responsibilities.
In addition to starting work on the Stanford application which he has had since late July, Jackson is taking a course load that includes AP Human Geography, AP Macroeconomics, AP English Literature and Honors Civics. That class schedule pales in comparison, however, to what Jackson's course load looked like at the beginning of the year.
"I actually had a laugh with Coach Harbaugh because I looked at my schedule the first day of school and I had 5 AP courses lined up," Jackson said. "I was wondering if Stanford had anything to do with that, if they were talking to my counselors, but he said they didn't do that. I dropped two of the AP classes and put them off to the second semester so I could concentrate on football."
Jackson's interest in keeping most of his attention on football has also translated to the recruiting trail. While Jackson admits that Stanford is in a good place with him and, "doesn't have to worry," about making his list of top three or top five schools, the three-star prospect has yet to eliminate any programs from consideration.
"Basically, all of the schools are still in consideration," Jackson said. "I'm trying to put recruiting on the backburner for a bit to focus on football. I don't want to have my personal things in the way of what I'm trying to accomplish for my senior season."
With that said, Jackson has begun the process of setting up his official visits. He plans to visit Wake Forest for the Deacons' September 19th game against Elon College and is close to finalizing an early December trip out to California to see Stanford.
"I just talked to Coach Harbaugh last week and we're looking at the first weekend in December, but nothing's been set in stone yet," Jackson said.
Scout.com's No. 79 defensive end will likely set up a few more visits before he makes a decision, but he is not yet sure of where they will be. Ideally, Jackson said he will come to a decision after the completion of his senior football season.
"I want to make it before January, hopefully before the new year," Jackson said. "If not, then it will be in January."
Jackson reports a 1620 three-part SAT score and a 3.71 GPA. He hopes to major in either nutrition or sports management.
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