OSU football: Receiver Blake Jackson finding his way with the Cowboys

BLAKE JACKSON -- After a year out of football and a year redshirting at a suburban Phoenix community college, Blake Jackson began to blossom. Now, he's being counted on to be another weapon in the Cowboys' high-flying offense.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 20, 2012
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Halfway through Jackson's redshirt freshman season, things clicked. Over the last five games of the season, he caught six or eight passes a game, and by the next season, he was the focus of the offense

“We game-planned to get Blake Jackson the ball,” Ziegler said.

Even though defenses double and sometimes triple covered Jackson, he still had 62 catches, 934 yards and 16 touchdowns in 11 games.

This time, the college recruiters came running.

Football changed Jackson's life.

And now, the changes continue at OSU. Jackson arrived in Stillwater as a tight end, but he's done work this spring at just about every receiver position. Cowboy offensive coordinator Todd Monken has said that Jackson must be a factor, but who knows where?

Jackson has also transformed his body. In three months, he has added nearly 20 pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame and is now playing at around 235 pounds.

Cowboy strength coach Rob Glass says Jackson's physique is Adarius Bowman-like.

“He's not the finished product yet,” Glass said. “We still have a lot of work to do. When people put on weight real quick, it takes a little bit longer for the speed to kick in.”

Adjusting to a new body isn't easy. Neither is learning a new offense.

Jackson has had his ups and downs this spring. There have been stretches when he's struggled, dropping balls, missing routes and learning the hard way that this isn't junior college anymore. But then, he's also had some wow moments, making catches that no one else on the team can make because no one else has his size and athleticism.

“He's a big-bodied guy,” Cowboy quarterback J.W. Walsh said. “He's got really good hands. He's got really good leaping ability. And he's got great ball skills.

“If it's in the general area of him, he's going to catch it.”

The Cowboys have no idea who will be throwing the passes this fall — Walsh? Clint Chelf? Wes Lunt? — but once they figure it out, they're expecting Blake Jackson to catch a bunch of them.

“I think he'll be a really good player for us,” Glass said. “He's just trying to find his way.”

Considering where he's come from, he's already made quite a journey.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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