Up next in our series reviewing the Class of 2009 is RTT#2 Janzen Jackson. His pre-UT profile:
Some were surprised that Jackson (and RTT#1 Darren Myles) were ahead of Bryce Brown in our rankings. He did whiff on a five-star ranking from Scout, and he was only ranked the 2nd-best player at his position and the 17th-best overall in the nation (as opposed to Brown's ten total stars and #1s across the board), but Jackson's top three offer package of Alabama, LSU, and Texas A&M put him over the top. Texas A&M? Yeah, Texas A&M, which had the 16th-best class in the nation (when you combined both services) at the time the RTT rankings were compiled. Miami, by the way, Brown's third-best offer, was ranked only 24th in the nation by Scout, which really did him in.
Anyway, Jackson was #2, and he had the added advantage of playing in a secondary that needed him in a position opposite Eric Berry. What did he do with it? This:
|GP||Int. Ret.||Fum. Ret.||Tackles||PD||FF|
Sort of an all-around stat line, that. Twenty-six tackles, including a sack. A fumble return, an interception return, three passes defended, and one forced fumble. It's not quite as impressive as it looks, though, because that forced fumble and the fumble return were immediately negated by his own fumble back to the offense. I considered removing that play from the highlight reel, but decided to leave it in as a sort of metaphor of what almost happened to the opportunity he had to be a Vol That Night in the Prius.
You do have to wonder just how much of Jackson's opportunities and performance were the result of Eric Berry removing half of the field as a concern all by himself. And you may have forgotten, as I had until editing an article for the preseason magazine yesterday, that Jackson's off-the-field issues weren't limited to the pellet gun thing; at that time, he'd just come off a one-game suspension for "administrative reasons." But that, by itself, is a pretty minor infraction, and the authorities dropped all charges against Jackson in the other thing, so he may be clear.
So off the field, he may have been guilty of not much more than choosing Nu'Keese Richardson as a friend, and on the field, he was great for a true freshman in the secondary. And we haven't even seen much of Darren Myles yet, who's actually last year's highest-RTT-ranked recruit. Put those two together for another couple of years, and we could have something very special in the back field again.