Rookie minicamp with Jaguars a dream for Riverside High grad Dequan Jackson

Fullback Derek Parish, left, and linebacker Dequan Jackson, a Riverside High School graduate, during Jaguars rookie minicamp on Friday. (Kevin Talley, News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a big day for all of the Jaguars rookies, who hit the field for their first real taste of the NFL during rookie minicamp on Friday.

For Dequan Jackson, a Riverside High School graduate and Jacksonville native, it was a full-circle moment.

“The first jersey I ever put on in my life was a Jags jersey. As a kid, I played Pop Warner for the Jaguars.”

From a Jaguars Pop Warner jersey to a Jaguars NFL jersey, it has truly always been the Jaguars for Jackson.

“You know, you played Madden and you make a created player. Most definitely always played for the Jags,” said Jackson.

Jackson played high school football just a few miles from TIAA bank field with the Generals. After playing college football at Colorado State, he signed with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent.

“I grew up a Jags fan. So, I’ve been to multiple games. I’ve been up there in the nosebleeds. I’ve been down here for Super 11. So it was like, I always dreamed of playing here but you go through the whole process. You don’t think you’re going to end up at home, but man, I appreciate this opportunity.”

Jaguars assistant general manager Ethan Waugh said that Jackson impressed the team during his local workout. Now, it is all about making the most of the chance for Jackson.

Another player looking to make the most of his opportunity is Derek Parish. He is walking a path that is not often treaded in the NFL anymore. Parish is going into the league as a fullback, making the switch from playing defense in college to offense in the NFL. General manager Trent Baalke and Waugh both brought up how Bruce Miller made a similar switch when they were in San Francisco.

Parish said that he played fullback in Little League.

“I was touting it,” Parish said.

Even though Parish has not been a full-time fullback, he said that even as far back as childhood, he always watched the NFL fullback.

“Even when I was on defense, I was watching Mike Alstott. Yeah. Mike Alstott, was the truth,” Parish said. “Kyle Juszczyk, Patrick Ricard, all those guys. But Mike Alstott is the GOAT.”

Parish may not be an NFL legend yet but he is a Houston football legend. Parish won the team’s eating competition last year.

“It was like 110 ounces that I ate. It was like a course of like six steaks. I think it got bigger for each steak and ended up with a tomahawk,” Parish said. “Grab that down. And then I think a ribeye after that and that they’d be like 110 ounces. I just showed up hungry.”

About the Author:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.