Blue Chip Chat with Branden Jackson, McKeesport
Share with others:
Jackson, who added 15 pounds since last year, is considered one of the top defensive end-linebacker prospects in Western Pennsylvania. He's tall and agile. He is a two-sport athlete who also was a starter on McKeesport's basketball team.
Jackson has a number of scholarship offers from Division I colleges. Pitt, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Michigan, Michigan State and North Carolina are among the schools that have offered. Jackson plans to make an official visit to Texas Tech in September. "But I haven't really narrowed things down at all, as far as a final list," said Jackson, who is being recruited as a defensive end.
Was there a time when you thought basketball was your No. 1 sport? That's funny. Really last year, I thought basketball was going to be my sport. I went into football season and didn't think I would be a big part of the offense. Then they told me I would play middle linebacker and I had never played that before. I said, 'Man, I'm going to quit.' I thought I'd work hard to get a scholarship for basketball. But after playing linebacker, I started loving it.
So you were really thinking of quitting football? Yeah, I don't know why. But I was scared to tell [former McKeesport] coach [George] Smith.
With a new head coach (Jim Ward) this season, has there been a period of adjustment? Yes. Whenever coach Smith resigned, some of us seniors didn't want to play any more. We said, 'It will be a whole new system. The season is going to stink. We'll have to learn on the run.' Then we started to chill and realized we couldn't afford not to play. Plus, when we heard coach Ward came from Yough, we checked him out and said, 'Yough? He went 3-7 last year at Yough? We're going to stink with this coach.' Then we found out he coached some at Jeannette and Clairton. A lot of the seniors tried to stay away from him when he first came, but he grew on us.
Now you like him? Oh yeah. Now he's my boy.
Are you really serious about attending Texas Tech? Everyone always asks me that. They say, 'Do you really want to go that far away?' But there is nothing wrong with me and going away. I just want to go where I fit in and Texas Tech feels like a good fit.
Who should be ranked No. 1 in WPIAL Class AAAA? I think it should be McKeesport and then Woodland Hills No. 2.
People might be surprised to know that ... I love to dance.
Should Ben Roethlisberger play in preseason games? Yes. Even though he has to sit out some games, you don't want him going into the season too rusty.
Something you'd like to get around to doing? Horseback riding [laugh]. I don't know why, but I've always wanted to ride a horse.
First Published August 18, 2010 12:00 am