Two Towers – Jeremy Jackson
Receiving stars – and pals – from Ann Arbor Huron and Pioneer stay committed to UM
JONATHON KNIGHT COURTESY PHOTO
ANN ARBOR – When high school senior Jeremy Jackson looks through the family mail, he commonly sees what every high school student athlete dreams of — full ride scholarships to the colleges of his choice.
Jackson cites offers from four of the top 10 football college in the land, including Florida, Louisiana State and Texas. An honor to some, Jackson found that receiving scholarship offers from all around the country was a distraction from his goal of helping Ann Arbor Huron High School into the state playoffs — before heading off to the University of Michigan.
So he did what he had to do to keep the recruiters off his back.
“I changed my phone number,” said Jackson, who committed to play his college football at Michigan on Oct. 1, 2008.
It was hardly a surprise. Fred Jackson, Jeremy’s father, is on the Michigan coaching staff, making the decision for Jeremy a bit easier. The problems the Wolverines had in their 3-9 season during coach Rich Rodriguez’ first year — which continue this season — gave him no pause for second thoughts.
“Give it a year or two,” Jeremy Jackson said. “Michigan will be one of the nation’s elite programs. I believe in Coach Rodriguez. Just look at his past. He’s a great coach.”
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound wide receiver is undoubtedly Ann Arbor Huron’s best playmaker. A varsity starter for four years, Jeremy Jackson would have to learn a completely different offensive playbook for his senior season. Under first-year coach Cory Gildersleeve, there was a fear that Ann Arbor Huron would be shying away from the pass to operate a more run-based option offense.
That fear was short-lived.
“Everything is well,” said a satisfied Jackson. “The season is good, too.”
Jackson is on his way to posting career numbers in his senior season at Huron with 43 catches for 573 yards, a 13-yard-per-catch average.
With his size and strength, there is no reason why Jackson won’t be a consistent performer in college, say recruiting experts who call him a three-star college prospect.
“He is big and strong. He uses his body very well when playing against a (defensive back). He cuts very quickly and has great feet and hands,” Gildersleeve said.
Helping his team bounce back from early season struggles, Jackson liked the improvement his team showed as the playoffs drew near.
“We lost two games early and that really hurt us. Although, we lost early in the season, I’m so proud of my team. All the guys are getting better every day, especially our offensive line,” Jackson said. “We finished 5-4.”
Under the Friday night lights recently, Jackson’s team suffered a last-second loss to rival Ann Arbor Pioneer for the seventh straight season. In one of the biggest games of his career, Jackson came up big, recording five catches for 55 yards. Most importantly, Jackson caught a touchdown pass to bring his River Rat team within two points of the Pioneers.
“He is a good teammate. He does his job and works very hard,” Gildersleeve said. “The players on the team look for him to make big plays for us.”
Recently, Jackson has also picked up playing time at safety. With a lengthy body, and 4.6 40-yard-dash speed, it’s hard for Jackson not to be such a threat in the defensive backfield. Ask, though, if Jackson sees safety in his future and you’ll get a modest reply:
“No way,” Jackson said firmly. “I’m not a good tackler. I’m going to stick with wide receiver.”
Despite not being the best defensive player, Jackson’s teammates look up to him. On the field, Jackson is a gifted leader and refuses to be outworked by the opposition. Jackson’s work ethic is far above most high school athletes.
“Jeremy works very hard,” Gildersleeve said. “This year he has played both offense and defense. He brings a presence to our team when we play.”
Jackson has attended many football camps at different universities, and over time he has accumulated quite the list of friends who are stars on their own high school teams. One of his best friends on the recruiting trail is rival Ann Arbor Pioneer’s star Ricardo Miller.
But for him it’s not all about football and friends. He stands out in the classroom as well, with a 3.3 GPA at Huron, and he plans to graduate early to get additional practice time with UM players.
“Jeremy is polite and appreciative of the people around him,” said Megan Downey, a 17-year-old student athletic trainer. “He has connected more with the players — instead of it only being about him, like you would imagine. He really connects with the other players. They are truly like family.”