It was a busy Mother’s Day weekend for both myself and the Wildcats. My wife turned 40 on Mother’s Day (I didn’t mess it up!) and Kansas State filled several holes on the 2022 roster through junior college and transfer portal additions.
Wide receiver depth and overall speed was one issue Coach Kleiman and new Wide Receiver Coach Thad Ward wanted to address before fall camp, and did so with an intriguing gamble on talent.
Jackson, a 6’2”, 195 pound Ole Miss wide receiver transfer, collected 15 catches for 171 yards during his three seasons in Oxford. Out of Bentonville, Arkansas, he was considered a high 3* prospect (5.7), the 50th best wide receiver in the nation, and the 4th best player coming out of Arkansas in the class of 2019 by Rivals. He signed with Ole Miss over offers from Georgia, Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee (amongst others). He has two years of eligibility remaining if he choses to use his Covid year.
This is a gamble on talent. Jackson was a hot commodity as a recruit. He was a three-time All-State selection in Arkansas and the 7A Player of the year in 2017. He started his high school career in spectacular fashion putting up 916 yards and 9 touchdowns as Sophomore (2016). He followed that up with a 61 reception, 1,439 yard, 14 touchdown Junior season (2017). He fell off a bit as a senior, but still managed 42 receptions for 847 yards and 12 touchdowns. Jackson also starred in track at Bentonville and has a verified 4.44 40 yard, 10.71, 100 and 22.35, 200 meter dash on his resume.
I can only find his junior season highlight compilation, but it gives you a good idea of who he is as a player. His ability to get down the field, track the deep ball, and make a play appears to be his strength. He shows solid body control and catches the ball with his hands in traffic. When the ball is in his hands, he’s more of a powerful runner than a shifty runner. He does a good job of getting north and south and eating up yards on screen passes. There’s not much to say about his three years in Oxford. He had a decent 4 catch, 30 yard game against Alabama last year, but only had one catch the remainder of the season.
It’s hard to look at his high school stats and highlight film and reconcile that with his performance at Ole Miss. K-State thinks he’s a talented kid that couldn’t push his way past other talented receivers. He’ll have every opportunity to prove his ability with the Wildcats.
I’m not sure I would like him as a one year addition, but I love him as a two year addition. He has the physical ability to stand out on this receiver group. He’ll have a chance to get acclimated this year, and then move to the front of the line in 2023 in a wide open receiver group. At the very least, he’s a solid depth piece that understands what is required to play Power 5 football. At best, he moves up the depth chart in 2022, plays a critical role as a down field receiver, and becomes the #1 option in 2023.
This is coach Thad Ward’s first addition to the wide receiver group during his tenure as wide receiver coach. The wide receiver group needed an injection of size and athleticism and Jackson fits the bill.