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PLANO, Texas - Plano West Senior High's gymnasium was packed to the brim with students, faculty, administrators and families to witness the school's homecoming pep rally on Friday morning. While the building was filled with much anticipation for the night's homecoming football game, the star of the pep rally was senior Jackson Jeffcoat, who was officially selected to play in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in a ceremony that highlighted the morning's events.
Jeffcoat has been well known on the recruiting front for years now because of his superior physical talents. His dominance on the gridiron from the defensive end position has garnered quite a bit of attention from college coaches and the media. But his recent selection to play in the prestigious Army All-American Bowl is possibly his highest accolade to date.
"This is just so great," said Jeffcoat. "The atmosphere was already really high this morning, but them coming here and inviting me to the game is just big. It's really big. I'm very excited about this"
Jeffcoat's character and his leadership on his Plano West team made him an easy selection for the Bowl. Col. Derik Crotts, Deputy Chief of Staff, G7, U.S. Army Accessions Command, was the official representative to honor Jeffcoat.
"Jackson is a talented athlete whose exemplary displays of leadership and teamwork have made him a stand out at Plano West High School," said Col. Crotts. "The qualities necessary to succeed on the football field, strength, dedication, leadership and teamwork, are the same qualities mirrored in Army Strong Soldiers. We are proud to honor all of our U.S. Army All-American Bowl players and congratulate them on their selection."
The spotlight is nothing new to Jeffcoat with the fame he has developed in his hometown of Plano, Texas, being ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 5 prospect in the nation, and it's also nothing new to the rest of his family. Jackson's father, Jim Jeffcoat, is a two-time super bowl winner as a defensive end with the Dallas Cowboys, and is now an assistant coach at the University of Houston. He has been a huge influence on Jackson's life, and is a big reason for his son's success.
"My dad has been great with me," Jeffcoat said. "He's taught me a lot of stuff. But he doesn't want to fill my mind up so that when I go and play I'll be thinking about everything. He just wants me to go out and do it. He wants everything I do to be a reaction."
Mrs. Jeffcoat has also been a major factor in Jeffcoat's life, and a key contributor to his motivation.
"My mom has helped me out so much with a lot of stuff," said Jeffcoat. "She knows a lot about football too, so she's always kind of critiquing me after games, and that has really helped me get better."
Jeffcoat, who possesses an imposing frame at 6-5 and 230 pounds, will represent the West squad in San Antonio, and has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of former Army Bowl defensive linemen like Marcus Spears, Haloti Ngata, and Tommie Harris, each of whom now play in the NFL.
But before the young star begins to think about competing on a professional level, he must make up his mind about college. Jeffcoat lists six schools that are in the running as of now, and those are the University of Houston, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Florida and Arizona State.
Jeffcoat had a visit set up for Texas a couple weeks ago but was unable to make it because he got the flu. But he reports that a rescheduled visit is in the works, and he will also begin to make plans to visit his other listed schools shortly. He does not have a timetable set for his decision, but he mentioned that there is a possibility he will announce his commitment during the game Saturday, January 9 at the Alamodome during the 10th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl.