Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jeremy Jackson, #17


In the 2010 Season Countdown, I identified Jackson as the least likely freshman receiver to play. It turns out that I was entirely wrong on my conclusion, but my reasoning was pretty sound. Anyway, Jackson was a Rivals 3-star wide receiver and the #22 player in the state of Michigan, but he was a way early commit (October 1, 2008) who selected the Wolverines over Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska, among others. He attended Ann Arbor (MI) Huron, across town from where his father, Fred, was the running backs coach for the Wolverines.

Fellow class of 2010 wideouts Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson redshirted as freshmen (slot receiver Drew Dileo played a little), but Jackson played in ten games and caught 2 passes each against Wisconsin and Ohio State for a total of 55 yards. The hiring of Brady Hoke in 2011 didn't change Jackson's role much as he caught 3 passes for 36 yards as a sophomore. As a junior in 2012, he made 4 catches for 31 yards and a whopping 7.8 yards/catch. He achieved career highs in 2013 with 6 catches for 71 yards.

17 catches, 193 yards, 11.4 yards/catch; 3 tackles

Academic All-Big Ten in 2012

I am struggling to come up with the appropriate words to describe Jackson's career. He is a player whose recruitment and playing career confounded me to some extent. If I'm being bluntly honest, I do not believe he was a Michigan-caliber player, nor am I convinced that he should have played as much as he did. I began seriously following recruiting in 2006, but the 2010 class happened to come about around the time when I started blogging, which caused me to evaluate recruits on a deeper level. I had serious questions at the time about whether Jackson was deserving of an offer, and I think I made some enemies on various message boards by being so insistent. The timing of my blogging "hobby" has nothing to do with Jackson himself, but he represents some of the first strong feelings I had about the direction of Michigan's recruiting efforts. I'm not sure I've seen another Michigan receiver garner so much playing time without having a single skill to hang his hat on - speed, size, blocking ability, hands, leaping ability, running ability, something. In four years, 46 games, and four career starts, Jackson made just 17 catches. By comparison, Dileo played the same four years and saw a similar amount of playing time, but he was able to make 46 catches for 629 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jackson stayed out of trouble and did not detract from the face of the program during his college years (unlike a couple stupid kickers), and I wish I had more positive things to say about a kid who played for four years in a winged helmet.

. . . being the first player whose Michigan offer I seriously questioned.

Jackson is listed at 6'3" and 209 lbs. and I would assume he will participate in Michigan's pro day later this month, although I am not aware of all the players who are certain to work out that day. However, Jackson's lack of production and athleticism will likely prevent him from having any kind of professional football career.


  1. Summed everything up pretty nicely. JJ was never that good, and did nothing special when he was out on the field. I doubt he would've been recruited if it wasn't for his father. JJ was too slow for Rich Rod's scheme (or anyone else's scheme for that matter) and it did not make any sense of using a scholarship on him. It is good that he was an academic Big Ten in 2012 -- at least he has the Michigan degree for life after college football.

  2. I never understood all his playing time, either.

    As far as giving him a scholarship is concerned, he could -- optimistically -- be viewed as a "legacy" guy (like Gant, Wanger, and possibly a Dunaway in couple of years) even though Fred didn't play at UM. Curt Mallory got a scholarship that way, IIRC, in the late '80s, riding the coattails of his older brothers.

    1. One has to assume that they played favorites a bit because he was a coach's son. His excessive PT this year irked me. UM fans talk a lot about the OL problems, but Jackson, AJW, and Funchess blew up their share of running plays with poor blocking. There is obviously a reason the Funchess was out there, but the other two guys got way too many snaps for their abilities and efforts.

    2. I believe AJW is the personification of the Hoke regime's dark side. :)

  3. A few words come to mind to describe Jackson: unexceptional, limited, much-maligned. However, as I’ve become somewhat of Jackson-defender against the torrent of fan dissatisfaction, I’d add a few others: reliable, dependable, consistent, adequate, serviceable.

    These are traits that I think gets disregarded too quickly sometimes in a desire for having superstars and playmakers. Jackson was far from great, but there’s guys like DJ Williamson, Jerald Robinson, and Ricardo Miller who had a lot more talent but never produced as much as Jackson. I think there is something to be said for knowing the plays, executing your assignment, and not dropping the ball – some kids don’t have what it takes to be a well-prepared quality backup/role player. Being a coach’s son probably helps in that regard. He didn't do anything well, but he also was able to do everything asked of him.

    This is inline with my argument a few years ago in regard to Vincent Smith vs Mike Shaw. Having explosive playmaking ability is important, but it's not everything. Sometimes it's better to just have the guy who will do his job without messing up.

    Jackson was decidedly NOT a playmaker and that disappointed a lot of people, but he played all 4 years, helped the team at position that lacked depth (especially under Rodriguez) and saw the field every year under two very different coaches. He deserves our respect.

    Furthermore, while I agree he has zero chance of playing in the NFL there's been a lot of people at Michigan that I thought that was true for (Mundy, Cox, Brown, Dreisbach). You never know...OK, in this case we probably know.

    ...To end my comment on philosophical note: haterz gonna hate.

    1. Vincent Smith is a considerably better football player than Jeremy Jackson.

      Also, when Jackson got more playing time towards the end of his career, he started making more mistakes, like drops and missed blocks. The guy stayed out of trouble and managed to get on the field, but it's not like he's swimming in awards typically given to backup team-spirit types.

      Sometimes I wonder if you're just deliberately contrarian for its own sake.

    2. lmao. Vincent Smith was better than JJ by light years. Yes, he was undersized, but boy he also made some great plays that I will always remember him by. I can't remember one play in which JJ made a great impact. Let's just say Michigan football's been in trouble for the past several years. Players like that getting significant playing time is a symptom of such trouble.

    3. I don't get the feeling that Lanknows is suggesting that Jackson and Vincent Smith are equal football players. He's simply making a parallel between the Smith vs. Shaw argument and the Jackson vs. Someone Else argument.

      That being said, I will continue to insist that I would rather have a playmaker on the field than a guy who, at his best, still can't make big plays. Obviously, there are roles for "consistent but limited" players, but Jackson's role was too large.

    4. Correct Thunder, I was about to blame myself for being unclear but upon rereading I'll just blame BB and Sudx for very poor comprehension... Only exacerbated by strange arguments about a player no one thinks is outstanding "swimming in awards"...

      I'd, of course, rather have a playmaker on the field too, all else being equal. But if you have other playmakers on the field who are superior, sometimes it's better to have the reliable complementary player around them. To me, it's a little like arguing we need more scoring out of Jordan Morgan. You can certainly make the case it would help free up the other scorers, but it's entirely beside the point. We need him for his defense and effort and the other stuff is ancillary because you have LeVert, Stauskas, and Robinson already.

      This argument won't be bought by many people but I suspect it COULD be true. While Mitch McGary is a FAR better player than Morgan, I don't know that our offense would be better with him. The pieces fit better if Morgan can just do his thing and Caris and Nik can do theirs.

      Not saying that was the case with Jackson necessarily, because those were not great Michigan offenses by any stretch, but maybe the team needed him to just run his damn route correctly or block the right guy as Gallon got open or Denard scrambled away. Maybe that's something that CSonte York or Jerald Robinson just can't do, despite having superior 'playmaking' ability. If you're the go-to guy, that's great, but if there are better options to have the ball, it doesn't matter nearly as much.

      I do think Jackson playing was more about roster deficiencies than his abilities. Nonetheless, it wasn't him or the coaches that were to blame for that, it was Ricardo Miller, Jerald Robinson, and all the other WRs that haven't done anything in the last few years.

      My defense basically amounts to this: at least he wasn't a screwup, unlike most of the WR recruits of his era. He did his job. He didn't excel, but not everyone does. He seemed to do fine with the limited talent that he had and he helped the team. Focus your hate or criticisms on the guys who flop, not on the ones who do their job for 4 years without causing any problems.

      Note to sudx and BB, I do not think Jeremy Jackson is as good as Carmelo Anthony.

  4. Wow. Can't believe he was recruited by Florida

  5. I remember this WR drill video from last year. After the dong forest, it's amazing to watch the different WRs go through the turn-and-catch drill. I've never played or coached a down of footbal in my life, but I can still tell which guy is JJ without looking at the numbers.