When Driphus Jackson of Cedar Hill (Texas) High stepped on the field of Football University's (FBU) Annapolis camp last July, he didn't realize the experience would change his life.
But it was there that the Rivals.com four-star quarterback was spotted and invited to star in The Ride, a sports reality TV show airing on MTV2. The series takes eight under-the-radar high school quarterbacks through a grueling, seasonlong training program for a chance to earn All-American status and a roster spot in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the nation's premiere high school football game.
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Jackson won that competition and played for the West team at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 8. Although his playing time was limited, Jackson said the experience was once-in-a-lifetime.
MTV2 will air the season finale of The Ride on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 11 p.m. ET.
"Playing in that bowl game, with that level of talent, was an incredible experience," Jackson said. "I had to learn to take it to another level because every single kid there was four-star or five-star, everyone was elite. I am already a hard worker but it showed me how much harder you must work at this level. Definitely a great preview of what I'll see next season at Rice."
Jackson, who committed to Rice while filming the show, threw for 2,910 yards and 29 touchdowns, while adding 625 rushing yards as a senior. He is listed by Rivals as a dual-threat QB.
"The entire experience on The Ride has been absolutely tremendous, eye-opening and maturing.," he said. "The national exposure and opportunity was incredible, and the coaching truly helped elevate my overall game and technique. I can't say enough about the overall experience - just amazing and I'm thankful to have been a part of it.
Jackson's All-American experience also gained him some new QB friends.
"One of the best things was meeting these guys and making new friends," he said. "Bubba Starling was the best friend I made. I know I'll be talking to him more. He is just so down-to-earth. I knew J.W. (Walsh) because we're both in Texas and played against each other. And Cody (Kessler) is about the coolest cat you'll ever want to meet."
Past episodes of The Ride are available now for viewing, along with additional information, at MTV2's website: http://www.mtv.com/shows/the_ride/series.jhtml
This spring, another batch of quarterbacks will compete in the third season of the series. The show will be scouting at several Football University football camps, starting this month in Hawaii.