Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Hernando High

Leopards' Jackson ready for action


Published:

If the bobblehead craze surfaces at Hernando High, expect one of the first figurines to feature Leopard senior linebacker/fullback Jeremiah Jerome Jackson.

The 5-foot-11 , 210-pound Sherman Tank could be aptly nicknamed "Action Jackson" or maybe "Sudden Impact."

He is the middle of four children of Brooksville's Faith and Cynthia Jackson. Jackson was born and raised in Brooksville.

The 17-year-old Jackson has been a fixture in athletics since he learned to walk.

He traced his athletic roots to Hernando Youth League T-Ball at 4 years old. Across his next seven years on the diamond Jackson filled in at third base, shortstop and first base.

He also enjoyed the hardwood. He participated in recreation basketball until his freshman year at HHS.

His passion, however, has always been on the gridiron.

"Mom wouldn't let me play till she thought I was big enough," recalled Jackson. "I started playing tackle football when I was 11."

In the HYL-turned Pop Warner division, Jackson alternated between linebacker and running back, mostly competing against teams from Citrus and Marion counties.

At Parrott Middle School, he continued to develop participating in three sports. In hoops, he played as a sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grader. On the oval, he concentrated in the 100 meter and 200 as a seventh- and eighth-grader.

On the football field under head coach Dwayne Mobley, Jackson played at defensive end as a sixth-grader before settling in as a linebacker/fullback as a seventh- and eighth-grader.

From 2007-09, those three Parrott teams posted a combined 20-0 won-lost record behind three Hernando County Middle School Athletic Conference championships.

Jackson was at the epicenter of a squad that squished its opposition during that span by a combined 816-20.

In all, Jackson scored 146 points featuring 20 touchdowns and 13 successful two-point conversions.

Upon matriculating to Hernando High, Jackson participated in JV basketball as a freshman before dedicating all his efforts to football.

To that end, Jackson was named as a utility pick to the All-County team the last two seasons.

After three seasons on defense behind coordinators Mark Beach and Mark Latsko, Jackson has collected three varsity letters.

During that span, Jackson has accumulated 250 tackles (119 solos, 131 assists) including a stellar 52 tackles behind the line, plus 13 quarterback pressures and 9.5 sacks.

Last fall was Jackson's finest campaign amassing 132 tackles - ranking second in Hernando County to the Defensive Player of the Year, Springstead's Luke McLeod (149)

Jackson isn't a typical run-stopper; he's defensed nine passes and swiped four enemy aerials. More importantly, he's returned two picks for touchdowns.

The calling card for impact players is what kind of damage they can inflict on the other side of the line.

Though Jackson is regarded a defender, he enters his final prep season with 15 career touchdowns, including 13 rushing scores.

He's carried the ball 209 times for a combined 1,227 yards - or nearly six yards per carry.

Forget his huge chassis; Jackson sprinted 76 yards for his longest rushing touchdown against Central in 2011. He added a 50-yard scoring burst against the stout Springstead defense in 2012.

"Of all my touchdowns, the one I remember the most was my first in high school," fondly recalled Jackson. "It was late in the game against Central when I was inserted. We ran a play and it was called back on a penalty. Coach called the same play and this time I got the ball. The hole opened up huge. After I went through, I cut to the sideline and took it to the house untouched. I can't ever forget that one.

"Probably my best game was in the spring against Crystal River when I ran for over 200 yards and four touchdowns - that was amazing."

An ankle injury minimized his effectiveness during his sophomore season.

Though he rushed for a career-best 714 yards and 10 touchdowns, Jackson feels that he was one of many weapons in the Leopard arsenal in 2011.

"We had so many people who could run the ball, I don't think there was a need to spotlight me or anybody else," he said. "We had a lot of weapons and a lot of balance."

Though he had a career-best season on defense in 2012, his offensive totals trickled to 494 rushing yards and two scores.

"The scheme last year was different from when we ran the Wing-T under Coach (John) Palmer," noticed Jackson. "Our guys had a lot of difficulty grasping who to block. There was a lot of confusion. We blocked people, just not the right people."

On this year's prospects, "Our O-line looks awesome. We got some transfers in from River Ridge. You watch how much they'll help us," noted Jackson.

Jackson, who has been timed running as low as a 4.6 40-yard dash, takes exception to anyone thinking he's not a complete back. His one reception in three years says otherwise.

"Trust me, I can catch the football," insisted Jackson. "In the past, Chubbs (Alvin Delaine) and Tyrail (Hawkins) were the guys we were trying to get the ball to as much as we could. Those guys are much more athletic than me.

"But I work out with receivers all the time and I can catch the football when the opportunities come."

On doubters who think Jackson lacks the home run capacity, "I can go long," said Jackson. "I trust my O-line. Big plays are game-changers whether they're on offense, defense or special teams. I feel I have that type of ability."

When Jackson peers into the mirror he sees, "A defender. I'm the hardest dude on the field," he said. "I don't see myself as just a hitter; I've got enough speed to cover receivers downfield as a defensive back. I'm like everybody else, if I touch the football on defense, I'm scooping and scoring."

On what side of the line he prefers, "Colleges are primarily looking at me on defense," pointed out Jackson. "And that's fine, but I can play both sides. At Hernando, I play wherever Coach Mobley wants. I play wherever it's best for the team."

Jackson would like to set a county record for being on the first Hernando High team to reach the playoffs in four straight seasons.

"To me, it's not just about making the playoffs," stressed Jackson. "I want an undefeated season. I want to make it past the second round - no Hernando team has ever done that.

"A lot of people have already written us off," said Jackson. "But they don't know what we have."

As far as goal-setting entering the season opener against Jacksonville-Bolles, "I've got a shot at becoming the school's all-time leader in tackles," Jackson said. "I also had 17 tackles in a game last year - I'd like to set that record, too."

On the keys to a successful season, "We're not as deep as we've been in the past, so a few more guys will have to go both ways," said Jackson. "We've got a lot of team speed and I feel we have a lot of guys who can contribute."

Jackson's primary goal is to not duplicate the up-and-down 2012 season.

"There was a lot of stuff, mostly off the field, that hurt us last year," Jackson admitted without naming specifics. "We were not focused prior to every game - and it showed. Being focused and ready to play each game is priority number one."

By the numbers: Hernando's Jeremiah Jackson (2010-12)

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO

OFFENSIVE STATS:

RUSHING

YEAR ATT YDS AVG. TD LG

2010 004 019 4.75 01 06

2011 105 714 6.80 10 76*

2012 100 494 4.94 02 50* vs. SPG

TOTALS 209 1,227 5.87 13 76*

RECEIVING

YEAR REP YDS YPC TD LG

2011 01 015 15.0 00 15

SCORING

YEAR TD PAT 2-PT. FG SF TP

2010 01 0 0 0 0 06

2011 10 0 2/2 0 0 64

2012 04 0 0 0 0 24

TOTALS 15 0 2/2 0 0 94

DEFENSIVE

YEAR SOLO ASST TTK TBL SK QBP CF FR PB BLK INT

2010 39 32 71 19.0 2.5 0 3 0 4 0 1

2011 26 21 47 15.5 4.0 7 0 0 1 0 0

2012 54 78 132 17.5 3.0 6 2 1 4 0 3**

TOTALS 119 131 250 52.0 9.5 13 5 1 9 0 4**

* Denotes touchdown

2013 Hernando Leopards Roster

No. Name Pos. Yr Hgt Wgt

1 Kevin Hagood LB/TE Sr 6-1 195

2 Richard Graham RB/CB Jr 5-10 170

3 John Coleman QB/DB Jr 5-11 170

4 Tyler Kline QB/DB Jr 5-11 170

5 Ra'shaad Hart QB/RB/DB Sr 6-3 215

6 Derrell Holland WR/DB Jr 5-9 155

7 Habib Garcia K Sr 5-10 155

8 Justin Roberts LB/FB Sr 5-10 180

9 Troy Grant DB/WR Sr 6-3 185

10 Mondrell Brown DB/FB Sr 5-10 180

11 Dallas Maclachan TE/LB Jr 6-4 185

12 Shane Garganus LB/FB Jr 5-10 170

13 Shevon Nathan WR/DB Sr 5-8 155

15 D'Angelo Fagin DE/FB Jr 5-11 210

21 Bryce Mobley DB/WR Sr 5-11 160

22 Eddie Eastham FB/DB Jr 5-7 145

23 Tyquon Carr WR/DB Sr 5-11 160

25 Brock Buchanan LB/RB So 5-9 145

29 Joel Wilson WR/DB So. 5-11 165

32 Jeremiah Jackson LB/FB Sr 6-0 210

33 Beck Buchanan FB/LB So 5-9 150

35 Khalil Bennett DE/FB Sr 5-9 180

38 Alfonso Vasquez OL/DE Sr 5-10 185

41 Hunter Maclachan LB/TE Sr 6-3 180

43 Brad Ellis FB/LB Fr 5-11 180

44 Austin Sternberger LB/WR So 5-10 155

51 Todd Flannery OL/DL Jr 5-10 180

52 Kei'von Dorsey DL/OL Sr 5-10 200

53 Steven Delaine OL/DL Jr 5-11 215

54 DeAundre Thomas OL/DL Jr 5-11 235

55 Jesse Gaudin DE/OL Sr 6-2 240

56 Mike Jones OL/DL Jr 6-4 260

60 Larry O'Banner OL/DL Jr 5-9 190

65 Joey Elliott OL/DL Sr 5-10 260

72 Bobby Smith OL/DL Sr 6-0 290

76 Connor Foradas OL/DL Sr 6-7 280

77 Darrin Bright OL/DL Fr 6-5 315

78 Rylee Cheek OL/DL So 6-1 245

81 Jon Zayas TE Sr 6-3 180

Head coach: Dwayne Mobley (2nd year)

Assistant coaches: Shawn Bingham, Justin Bland, Calvin Brown, Abraham Dowdell, Lorenzo Fields, Faith Jackson, Dan Oliver, Daniel Revennaugh

2013 Hernando Leopards Schedule

Date Opponent Site Time

8-30 Jacksonville-Bolles Home 7:30 p.m.

9-6 Jacksonville-Bishop Kenny Home 7:30 p.m.

9-13 Citrus Away 7:30 p.m.

9-20 Weeki Wachee* Away 7:30 p.m.

9-27 Bye

10-4 Nature Coast* (Homecoming) Home 7:30 p.m.

10-11 South Sumter* Away 7:30 p.m.

10-18 Pasco* Home 7:30 p.m.

10-25 Zephyrhills* Away 7:30 p.m.

11-1 Central* Home 7:30 p.m.

11-8 Springstead Away 7:30 p.m.

* Denotes Class 5A, District 6 game

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