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Colorado State LB Jackson leaving his mark on the program – The Denver Post

Of the 17 seniors playing their final game for Colorado State on Friday against New Mexico, only a handful had the impact of linebacker Dequan Jackson.

Jackson is a graduate student and Friday’s game will mark the end of his fifth year of eligibility.

A member of the CSU program since his freshman year in 2018 and leaving since his sophomore year, Jackson made a strong impression on head coach Jay Norvell, who was only able to coach the star for one year.

“Dequan is an excellent student,” Norvell said. “He’s a guy who really benefited from his upbringing. And he also benefited from his football playing here at CSU. He really tried to be a great example for young players. The guy really was an example in difficult times and he was committed to this university and he was committed to this program.

As a freshman at Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville, Florida, Jackson played in 10 games, recording 11 tackles. He was only scratching the surface of what he was capable of.

His sophomore year, he played in all 12 CSU games, starting 11 of them. He had 87 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He has established himself as a leader in defense.

COVID hit his junior season and he played and started in four games of the shortened season. He had 40 tackles and served as team captain for the first time.

He started every game of his senior season, totaling 84 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

After his junior season he was named a second-team All-Mountain West and after his senior year he was named an honorable mention All-Mountain West.

So far this season, Jackson has 89 tackles and 5.5 tackles for the loss in addition to two forced fumbles.

Although he was captain for three seasons, Jackson took on a bigger role as the leader of this year’s team – a role that included both a new coach and a significant number of players who left the club. team during the season.

“It was an honor, man,” Jackson said. “A lot of times it’s the team players who vote, especially when new staff come in. I think the staff approved it anyway, but it’s been an honor to lead these guys and have guys who admire me for the influence and for going through all the challenges we had and being an example for guys on how to handle it and deal with adversity.

“I hope the guys have learned from me over the years. Maybe when I leave here I’ll inspire other guys to step up and be a leader.

As one of the oldest Rams, Jackson has endured his share of change and adversity. He played under three coaches – Mike Bobo for two years, Steve Addazio for two years and now Norvell for his latest.

Between his senior season and this one, Norvell came on board and really enjoyed getting to know the captain three times at more than a player-coach level and seeing him play a leadership role.

“I just think it was great getting to know each other,” Norvell said. “We really spend a lot of time talking about what is important in leadership and all the qualities of great leaders and examples of exceptional leadership. Dequan really takes this seriously and I just think it will serve him well for the rest of his life.

Norvell hopes the young players have learned from Jackson how to handle themselves in difficult situations.

Thanks to coaching changes, Jackson stayed. Then, as players began to leave the team at the start of the season, Jackson was determined to stay loyal and committed and play out the rest of his senior year.

“I was committed to this program and to the team and I never really signed with a coach,” Jackson said. “I appreciate the coaches who have assigned and recruited me. Every coaching staff has been great to me, personally. It’s just one of those things where I look at the commitment I’ve made to my brothers and guys in this locker room and I could probably look at myself the same way.

“Whenever this opportunity comes up, I look at the guys and realize that this is where I want to be. Staying here hasn’t really been a difficult decision.

Explore the Lobos

New Mexico is 2-9 this season and 0-7 in the Mountain West. The Lobos have lost eight straight, most recently suffering a 34-10 loss to San Diego State.

The Lobos are led offensively by quarterback Miles Kendrick, who passed for 863 yards and three touchdowns. However, CJ Montes got his first start at quarterback last week and passed for 112 yards and had one interception.

Running back Nate Jones leads the rushing offense with 534 yards and two touchdowns. Geordon Porter is the team’s leading receiver with 312 yards and two touchdowns.

“We could see a few quarterbacks in this game, so we really have to prepare for that,” Norvell said. “They’re kind of a spread-options team where they try to run their quarterbacks and get their athletes into space.”

Defensively, Cody Moon leads the team in tackles with 97 tackles. He also has 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Reco Hannah leads the team in sacks with four. Ronald Wilson and AJ Haulcy each have two interceptions to lead the team.

“Their defense is very tough, a lot of blitzing, a lot of stunting,” Norvell said. “We just have to be really connected to where people are and be able to block moves against these guys.”

CSU leads the all-time series between the two teams, 43-25. The Rams have won the last 11 meetings, including last year’s 36-7 win at Albuquerque.

denverpost

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