One of the surprises at the Nike combine at USC last weekend was the performance by Long Beach Poly (Calif.) wide receiver Desean Jackson. We already knew what a big time talent Jackson was on the field and have said he was a better football player than USC bound Derrick Jones for some time. What we didn't know was what kind of speed Jackson had but he answered that question with flying colors last Saturday.
Jackson, 5-11, 156 pounds was a 1st team All-State Underclass selection as a junior after totaling 43 catches for 821 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was the Jackrabbits go to guy down the stretch and in terms of his ability to run routes and catch the ball, he may be the state's best. Jackson is so smooth and catches the ball so effortlessly and we found out a big reason why this past Saturday after talking to the receiver's older brother Byron, who played receiver for two years for the Kansas City Chiefs.
"I've been working with Desean for years on doing all the little things right," Byron said. "I videotape every game he plays and following the game, we go over things like how he's running his routes, how he gets off the line, how he's coming in and out of his breaks, things like that. I know a lot of players aren't doing those things, they just rely on their physical ability but Desean really works hard and it's paying off for him."
Jackson has speed, you can't play receiver at Poly without being fast. We just never knew how fast since the athlete plays baseball rather than run track at Poly. At the recent combine, Jackson clocked the days fastest 40 time with a 4.38 clocking and also had a 4.22 shuttle time and jumped 34 inches in the vertical.
"I wasn't even going to run because I'm in baseball shape, not football shape right now," Jackson said. "After I ran the 40s, I got sick and had to go throw up. I haven't run like that in a long time and it took a lot out of me. I'm excited at how I did though and I'm looking forward to the Nike camp at SDSU to see if I can do even better."
On the recruiting front, Jackson is still waiting for his first scholarship offer but is hearing from schools from all over the country.
"Right now, the ones I'm looking at are LSU, Florida State, USC, Oregon, Miami and Texas," Jackson said. "I'm open to anyone but I do want to play baseball in college along with football. Actually, what I really want to do is sign a pro baseball contract and play in the spring but still play football in the fall like what Matt Ware did at UCLA. Football is my favorite sport but I have a lot of people telling me I'll be a high round draft pick in next year's draft so we'll just see what happens."
Academically, Jackson is carrying a 2.8 GPA and will take the SAT later in the year.