Jackson is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the WPIAL. A year ago, he rushed for 1,111 yards on 118 carries and completed 66 of 113 passes for 975 yards. He helped Quaker Valley to one of its best seasons in decades (8-3 record) as the Quakers made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Jackson actually attends Cornell, but Cornell dropped its football program a few years ago, and he plays at Quaker Valley under a cooperative sponsorship. Twelve Cornell players are on Quaker Valley’s team this year. Jackson plays basketball at Cornell and averaged 26.9 points in 2013-14, third-best mark in the WPIAL.
Jackson already has accepted a scholarship to Pitt. When he made a verbal commitment earlier this summer, he also had scholarship offers from Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Duquesne and Albany. Pitt recruited him to play defensive back. “I went to Pitt’s camp, and they felt like they needed to see some more, so they invited me back down for a private workout,” Jackson said. “That’s when I got the scholarship offer.”
Has this team’s expectations changed since a year ago? I think they’re probably higher because we’ve got a lot of returning starters.
You aren’t the biggest ‘cat’ in the world, but I know you really feel you can play at Pitt’s level? It’s not about size. I have a lot of heart and I think that’s the good thing about me. I’m not scared to go against anyone.
You go to Cornell, so how hard is it to put on Quaker Valley gear? At first, it was hard. Now, it’s like second nature.
Now that you’ve been through a few years, are you glad this cooperative sponsorship happened with Quaker Valley? Yeah. We had some players here, but guys wouldn’t make it through the season. They’d quit. This way, we added to our family, and I think we added to [Quaker Valley’s] family.
So did you go to two proms in the spring? I didn’t go to either.
What, couldn’t find a date? No [laugh], I just wasn’t feeling it. I just wanted to take off a year from proms.
With a name like Dane Jackson, don’t you need a nickname? [WPXI sportscaster John] Fedko called me “Action Jackson” last year.
Nothing better than that? Some of my friends call me “Splashy.”
What? I don’t know. I guess because I make “splash plays.”
Do kids your age even know much about Robin Williams? Yeah. When I first heard about him, “Mrs. Doubtfire” came right in my head. I used to watch that movie with my sister. He was a pretty funny guy. I liked him a lot. I think he was known by older and younger people.