By T. Scott Boatright
It’s something — they’re someone — every football coach in America looks for.
And Ruston High School senior Aaron Jackson is hoping to show Grambling State University football coach Hue Jackson that’s exactly what he will be after signing a national letter of intent Wednesday to continue his career on the gridiron with the G-Men.
Jackson, who grew up in Ruston before transferring to Neville for his junior year, returned to RHS to play his senior season as a Bearcat and played a key role in a run all the way to the Division I Nonselect School championship game at Caesar’s Superdome in New Orleans.
“(Grambling) just felt like home,” Jackson said. “They’ve been recruiting me for a long time and have always stayed in touch and kept up with me — showing that they care about me. They made me feel like family.”
Jackson, who led the Bearcats with 57 receptions for 919 yards, believes he knows what he’s bringing to Grambling.
“A playmaker,” Jackson said. “I’ll catch anything they throw to me — every ball — and do anything they need me to do. All I need is a chance to show them.
“It’s been a crazy journey going to meet other people and coaches and then coming back home to the people and coaches I’ve known for so long. It’s been a wild run but one I want to keep going and keep making better and better.”
Ruston football coach Jerrod Baugh said he was not surprised to see Jackson advance to the college football field.
“Watching him grow up starting in junior high and then watching him mature as a player and as a person, we always thought Aaron was going to be a really good football player and that’s what he turned out to be,” Baugh said. “He’s everything we expected from an early age coming up and I’m glad he was able to do that here and finish his career here.”
Baugh’s also glad to see Jackson stick close to home to continue his career on the college level.
“It’s special to be able to do that,” Baugh said. “We work a lot on Saturday’s and bring the kids in and all of that, so that’s so that’s pretty impossible to do unless it’s within a short driving distance. Having guys playing close to here gives you that opportunity as a coach and it’s very special.
“Everybody always asks me what teams I like to watch in college and in the NFL and my response has always been the same — it’s the teams that the kids I’ve coached play for whether it be college or NFL, and I’m fortunate enough to have coached some players who are still competing on both of those levels and try to follow them, so following these guys signing today will be just the same.”
Baugh believes Jackson will be a good fit for the G-Men
“They’re trying to get things back going there and I think Aaron can be a big piece of that,” Baugh said.”Obviously they feel like that, too.
“You get Aaron, who comes from a program that has been winning ballgames — you want to add people like that, so I think Aaron is completely the kind of player they were looking for and I think that they’re getting a really good player out of it.”
In an Instagram video introducing the players Grambling signed today, GSU coach Hue Jackson said he believes he’s getting a playmaker in Jackson.
“He was one of the catalysts for Ruston High School having such a great season,” Jackson said. “The guy can track the football. He knows how to make plays all over the field. He made a lot of huge plays that led to the success in Ruston going on to the (state) championship, and we expect he’s going to do the same thing here at Grambling State University.”
“He knows how to hold off defenders and still reach up and high point the ball and make some tremendous plays. I think he’s going to be a heckuva player for us.”
Jackson said he feels adding regional talent is important to the GSU football program.
“We’re excited to have him because we want to keep the local talent home,” Jackson said. “I think that’s really important for everybody to understand — we’re going to recruit right around this area because there’s some tremendous football players and Arron Jackson, he shows that.”
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