For the Wednesday Oklahoman, I wrote about Kerry Jackson, OU’s 1972 freshman phenom quarterback, who in April 1973 was ruled ineligible, paving the way for Steve Davis to take over the position and begin a three-year run of 32-1-1. You can read that column here.
But I had a few leftover items I thought you might find interesting:
* Jackson on his quick ascension up the OU depth chart.
“I was prepared to play college football,” Jackson said. “The conference we had (at Galveston Ball) was 4A football (the highest), which I felt was next to college football.
“Playing college football was totally different for me. It was more of a business. It was still fun, but it was more business. And it was tougher, too. Back in those days, we went through three-a-days, in 100-degree plus temperatures.”
* Jackson said he still tries to get back to OU every other or so. His primary contact is with Joe Washington.
* Washington and Jackson were in the same class, 1972. Heck of a class. Lee Roy and Dewey Selmon, Washington, Mike Vaughan, Tinker Owens, Jimbo Elrod, Scott Hill, David Smith.
* Mike Phillips, now a minister in Dallas, was best friends with Jackson in Galveston, then was ruled ineligible along with Jackson at OU for the 1973 season.
Phillips calls Jackson “the best that ever came through there.” The ruling that sidetracked Jackson’s career “hindered him for sure. Not a good thing.” Playing “definitely would have helped him enter into the pro ranks.”
Phillips points out that “everybody else profited except for him. Coach (Chuck) Fairbanks, he went to the Patriots. Bill Michael (the assistant coach who resigned in the scandal), he went somewhere else. Everybody kind of profited from Kerry. Must have been tough on him.”
* Jackson suffered an ankle injury against Colorado, the fifth game of the 1972 season. The ’72 Sooners were not like the ’71 Sooners; the OU offense wasn’t quite the Land Run machine it was the year before, and the yardage was much more evenly distributed. Through five games, OU’s leading rushers were:
Greg Pruitt 63-369
Tim Welch 62-327
Kerry Jackson 47-298
Joe Washington 28-214
Joe Wylie 34-204.
* Jackson had a strong arm but needed a lot of work on how to use it. For the 1972 season, he completed 11 of 38 for 144 yards and four interceptions.
“Threw it really hard,” said Hill, who actually was the top quarterback recruit in the class. “Probably wasn’t as accurate. That would have come.”
Hill said Jackson “wasn’t bitter at all,” after he had to sit out the 1973 season and Steve Davis took the reins of the team. “Always good. Always got along with everybody. Nice guy.”
Heck, Hill has his own could-have-been story. Hill suffered a should injury in August 1972 and chose not to attend classes, delaying his freshman season until ’73. Had Hill played in ’72, he might have been ahead of Davis in spring ’73 when Jackson was ruled in eligible.