JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bolles product Jordan Jackson was the second area player to be selected in the NFL draft when he was taken by the Saints on Saturday afternoon.
Jackson’s football journey teaches a lesson about hard work, dedication, and attention to detail. He was a good player at Bolles but only considered a two-star recruit. He went to the Air Force Academy and got bigger and stronger, became a team captain, and now, he has a shot at the NFL.
“I don’t want to say I wanted more than anybody else, I guess everybody’s had the different paths, different things they wanted to focus on,” Jackson said. “I guess going to the Air Force Academy kind of put a little bit different things in me--a little bit more discipline, hard work, going for what you want and just keep chasing it. It’s a good thing that kind of happened. Everybody ended up having their own paths their own things that they wanted to do and I guess that’s where I got me.”
Jackson, a defensive tackle who graduated in 2016 from Bolles, was a sixth-round pick and the No. 194 player overall.
He joined former Raines and Camden County high schools star Myjai Sanders as local products to hear their name called in the NFL draft this year. Sanders was a third-round pick of the Cardinals, No. 100 overall.
Jackson (6-foot-5, 285 pounds) had a career-best 7.5 sacks in his final season with the Falcons. He ranks eighth in school history on career yardage in tackles for loss (27 for 176 yards).
Jackson made it back-to-back years for Bolles with a pick in the NFL draft.
Quarterback Mac Jones was a first-round pick of the Patriots last year, but it wasn’t Jones who Jackson leaned on for advice, but another former Bolles Bulldog, tight end Hayden Hurst.
“I was actually working with him for the past few weeks before he left for the Bengals workouts,” Jackson said. “But I was asking him about some help, how it went, what to expect, how to go into the draft, how your mindset should be. He was a little bit different because he was a first-round guy but he’s like you still don’t really know you guys just gotta go in there and just how whatever happens, happens. He was someone I’ve been talking to the past few weeks about what to expect.”
Jackson learned some key lessons at the Air Force Academy. In some cases, they were new lessons, but many of them were the continuation of the lessons taught by his high school coach, the legendary Corky Rogers.
“Absolutely,” Jackson said. “The hard work aspect. Those old summer workouts and all the two days and all that stuff, the grind, the discipline. Just the little things that you have to do. When he’s talking about the little things in practice, you don’t really pay attention but when you get to the Academy and you’ve actually got to make a bed that is to specific dimensions, all this different stuff. I think you kind of focus and you’ve got to realize, like ‘Wow, it really is important.’”
Jackson will be heading to New Orleans, a city he said he has only visited once, to play in a new league, for a new coach and in a new system. He’s hoping to show, as he did in high school and college, that his versatility on the defensive line can be an asset to the Saints.
“I think that’s something that they definitely saw with my versatility,” Jackson said. “Being able to play inside and outside, or wherever my team needs me willing able to do, I think that’s something they kind of saw. And it’s something that kind of drew them to me and drew me to them.”