After a standout junior year at Mesquite (TX) Horn, Darreon Jackson hit the road. Moving north with his family, the 2015 defensive back will play his final season of high school football in The Sunflower State. As he settles in at Derby (KS), Jackson talks with Scout.com about the latest news in his recruitment.
After seeing action in the Mesquite (TX) Horn secondary as a sophomore and junior, safety Darreon Jackson will be lining up somewhere new in 2014.
“My dad’s in the Navy,” Jackson said. “I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio. I moved to Texas in the eighth grade. I recently left Texas to come to Kansas, because my dad wanted us to be together in Wichita.”
With his father stationed at McConnell Air Force Base, Jackson moved nearly 400 miles to Derby, KS. The Wichita suburb is home to just over 22,000 residents, and the defending Class 6A State Champion Panthers.
“My dad kind of gave us the heads-up before we left,” Jackson said with a smile. “I tried to do a little research. I know they played Hutch, and they went to the state championship. I’ve been watching their HUDL and studying them.”
“Coach Clark is a good coach,” he said of Derby head man Brandon Clark. “Since I probably have more experience than some of the guys on the team, I might have to help lead these guys into battle. I have to know all the plays, put everybody in the right spot, and take charge.”
The 6-foot-1.5, 185-pound junior has proven to be a versatile player throughout his high school career. Playing in a 3-3-5 defense as a sophomore at Horn, Jackson lined up on the second receiver to his side of the field. A coaching change brought a new system in 2013.
“Our new coaches ran a 3-4,” Jackson said of Mike Overton’s staff. “I was a hybrid. I was closer to being an outside linebacker, but played man coverage like a safety. They really liked me at OLB, because I was physical and looked to hit somebody.”
With 89 tackles, six quarterback hurries, four interceptions, a pass defense, five forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries, Jackson was an impact player for the Jaguars as a junior. He was a First Team All-District selection at outside linebacker, and earned Honorable Mention to the Texas Associated Press Class 5A All-State squad as a defensive back.
“I love to hit,” he said with a smile. “I feel my coverage is really good. I can play any position you need me to. I’ll sacrifice myself for the team, even play on the offensive line if I have to. I’m just for the team.”
Before his move to Derby, a number of programs were showing interest in Jackson. Florida State, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech had all checked in at Horn to find out more about the hybrid secondary player.
“Once I came here, I started getting mail from Oklahoma State, Kansas State, KU, and Tulsa,” he said, noting the shift in his recruitment. “I went to Junior Day at Oklahoma State two weeks ago. I’m going to Tulsa on Saturday, and I’m going to Kansas the next Saturday. Kansas State should be sending me info on (Junior Day) pretty soon.”
The new schools recruiting him haven’t affected what Jackson is looking for in a college football program.
“Honestly, I just want to play ball. As long as the school is a great school, and their defense is great. I just want to play on a defense full of hard hitters that want to sacrifice themselves for the team. I just want to play ball.”