View Full Version : '10 NJ WR Bennett Jackson (6/7/09 Notre Dame LOI)

07-10-2010, 11:41 AM
Wide Receiver
Raritan High School (Hazlet, NJ)

Links of Interest:
Rivals Profile (http://rivals.yahoo.com/notredame/football/recruiting/player-Bennett-Jackson-95604)

Height: 6 foot-1
Weight: 165 lbs.
Forty: 4.44 secs.
Bench Max: 235 lbs.
Squat Max: 395 lbs.


07-10-2010, 11:42 AM
Another victim of being lost during the file transfer, starting a new thread for Bennett for the free ISD story below.


Longtime Standout
Written by Christian McCollum Saturday, 10 July 2010 07:32

Jackson has always had his speed.People around Hazlet, N.J. have heard about Bennett Jackson for so long that they don’t even need to hear his name to realize when others are talking about him.

“There was nothing he couldn’t do,” Jackson’s Pop Warner coach Greg Fitzpatrick says during a phone interview. “We’d give him the ball if he was running right and he was trapped in, he’d cut it back left and go all of the way for a touchdown.”

Fitzpatrick’s son, Paul, is only in position to hear the last part of that quote and despite the fact that his father has not coached Jackson in four years, he chimes in, “Who’re you talking about, Bennett?”

Jackson began turning heads as a football player as a third-grade running back for the Hazlet Hawks Mighty Mites team. Jackson, who played on a select soccer team as a youngster, had a good idea of where his future was as soon as he got on the gridiron.

“I kind of always knew that I would play college football,” he said.

Jackson’s mother, Grace, said that her son has always been extremely fast and it was difficult for the single mom to keep up with a speedster, who was ready to go before seven every morning. So, she got him involved in sports.

“There was one time he ran for a touchdown and literally ran out of his shoes and kept going,” she said. “The cleats were on the field and he was in the end zone.”

Jackson was not coached by Fitzpatrick until he was in the fifth grade, but Fitzpatrick was waiting for him when he got there.

“You knew about him from Mighty Mites,” Jackson said. “He had great vision. He was a pretty skinny kid. He had these skinny legs, but he would break a lot of tackles. It was amazing, I couldn’t believe it.

“You’d see him get bent one way or the other and you’d just hold your breath hoping he didn’t break something and he’d pop up. He had the vision, he could change the field so quick on you. He was a handful for opposing teams to handle.”

But his impact ran deeper than his running.

“He did everything for us,” Fitzpatrick said. “He kicked off, he kicked extra points, he punted. I can‘t tell you how many times he punted us out of trouble. There was nothing he couldn’t do. If he was running right and he was trapped in, he’d cut it back left and go all of the way for a touchdown.”

One game, Bennett had issues with his kicking footwear. He wore a pair of brand new cleats and his foot hurt every time he kicked the ball.

“He had me run home to grab his old cleats and run back,” Grace recalled. “He played basically the whole game with one old cleat and one new cleat.”

Jackson loved playing for Fitzpatrick.

“He pretty much taught my almost everything I know,” said Jackson. “When I was younger, he would always get in my face if I had an attitude or if I was having a bad day or goofing off. I pretty much owe a lot of it to him, he showed me everything.”

“He was unassuming,” said Fitzpatrick. “He was a little high strung and you’d have to reel him in a little bit here and there. He was emotional, but he learned how to control his emotions more and got better and better at it.”

Jackson got used to playing receiver in a hurry.Fitzpatrick provided an extra ear for Jackson, an invaluable asset for youngsters who don’t always listen to their parents. The coach helped Jackson deal with the pressure of being a high-profile player at an early age.

A lack of players and coaches forced Jackson and his teammates to head to the Pee Wee league after one season with the juniors - instead of two - but the success did not slow down. In their first three years with Fitzpatrick, Jackson and his teammates lost just two games and the team made a run all of the way to the Pop Warner National Championship Game in 2004.

Jackson set touchdown records at every stop along the way.

“He worked as hard as anybody,” Fitzpatrick said. “He didn’t have a conceited bone in his body. He was a team player. Like every outstanding player, he wanted the ball. So a lot of times we gave it to him.”

As Fitzpatrick watched one of his best players ever move on to high school, he knew Jackson’s future was promising, but was not sure exactly how promising.

“You knew he was so talented and you knew he had a bright future,” he said. “But you didn’t know how big he was going to get.”

Jackson never lost his connection with Fitzpatrick or his solid work ethic. Despite the fact that he did not have the size to be a running back when he joined the Raritan High School varsity squad as a sophomore, he made an easy transition to wide receiver. He was not happy about changing positions at first, but he adjusted quickly.

“I started to like it more because I had more room to work to myself and less guys to beat,” he said. “It wasn’t really too hard on me. I kind of got the hang of it quick.”

By the time he got some snaps in the backfield as a senior, he considered himself a receiver.

“I wasn’t really a fan of it,” he laughed. “I liked being out in space. I got so used to being a wide receiver that I kind of forgot about my running back days.”

Jackson caught 75 passes for 1,338 yards over his final two seasons at Raritan while gaining 617 yards on 55 carries. He also used his speed to become a nationally-ranked hurdler in track and field.

Jackson wanted to keep the recruiting process as calm as possible and his high school coach only sent tape to schools with a history of getting players from New Jersey.

“I wasn’t really worried about getting 1,000 offers from every single school and getting all confused,” Jackson said.

As soon as the process started getting confusing, Jackson decided to put an end to it and selected Notre Dame the summer before his final high school season.

“Notre Dame provides the most exposure and they have the best academics of the schools that offered,” he said. “I looked at it as the best of both worlds. If I didn’t go anywhere for football, I had the education allowing me to do just as well.”

Michigan and Pittsburgh were the other finalists, but Jackson’s mother knew it would be the Irish after he took his visit.

“I was happy he was going there,” she said. “It just has everything going for it.”

A huge Irish fan, Fitzpatrick was also pleased with the decision.

“I think it’s one of the best academic institutions in the country,” he said. “I told him, ‘I’m going to come see you play no matter where you go, but if you go to Notre Dame, I’m hanging out there with you for a couple of weeks.’”

Jackson did not pick Notre Dame because of a single coach, so when Charlie Weis was replaced with Brian Kelly, he was not worried. He looked at the new coach as just somebody else he needed to impress. Jackson was certainly impressed with Kelly’s spread offense and the new coach told him that he was a good fit and the two were going to have a lot of fun together.

Fitzpatrick knows what Kelly is talking about and still fondly recalls the memories the two had together.

“It’s amazing to watch,” he said. “He came to us when he was nine years old. Just to watch him as a young boy grow up to be a young man, I couldn’t be prouder of Bennett. It wouldn’t have mattered to us if it was an Atlantic-10 school or a Northeast Conference school, we’d still be proud of him.

“It’s a privilege and an honor that I had any kind of input in his lifetime. He’s a great kid.”

07-10-2010, 11:46 AM
dude has the chance to really excel in kelly's offense -- i'm looking forward to seeing it

07-10-2010, 12:10 PM
Numa Numa??

07-10-2010, 07:27 PM
Numa Numa??

LOL :whack:

Bennett is gonna make it happen :word:

07-10-2010, 07:49 PM
way to go IUB sleeping on the job again:sleeping:

07-10-2010, 07:55 PM
I think a recall is in order.

07-10-2010, 11:37 PM
I'll just add that his original thread talked alot about how he loved strength and conditionaling and that he may want to become a S&C Coach one day. Bennett is very ripped and bet he'll work as hard as anyone and probably longer hours than anyone in making his body as perfect as it can be.

07-11-2010, 04:09 AM

07-11-2010, 02:27 PM


09-05-2010, 03:18 PM
Yesterday Bennett showed ALOT.
1. Speed - He got down the field and past blocks way before other players.
2. Toughness - He brought the KR down and showed a physicality some of us wondered about when talking about potential CBs.

Well, it't only 2 things but they were big. Purdue's starting field position after KOs were horible. If he keeps that up, Ruffer shouldn't kick touchbacks.

BK about a week ago mentioned that Bennett and how he is really fast and that he will get past the secondary. I bet we will see him running a go route vs Michigan. The question is... can he catch the bomb? Also, to touch on my 2nd point, I think he could play CB based on what he showed.

09-05-2010, 03:25 PM

From BKs teleconference.

On freshman Bennett Jackson leaping from scout team to special teams marvel: "He lasted about two days, actually, when all my defensive coaches were knocking in my door saying this guy is too fast, he can't be on scout team. It was pretty clear we had to find a place for him. As you know he had a great game. Three exceptional effort plays as well. We'll try to gradually work him in on offense."

09-05-2010, 05:50 PM
Baby steps - get this kid on KR. ASAP

09-06-2010, 11:17 AM
He looked great. It's cool we'll probably have another top tier WR soon.

09-06-2010, 11:20 AM
He looked great. It's cool we'll probably have another top tier WR soon.

Well with Floyd and TJ Jones!!! Bennett is awesome, Riddick is fantastic too!!! Now add Daniels to that and WHOAAAA!!!

09-06-2010, 11:49 AM
His hands need to catch up with his athleticism to be an elite reciever. Hope it happens.

09-06-2010, 03:29 PM
His hands need to catch up with his athleticism to be an elite reciever. Hope it happens.

Agreed. He's shown already that he's a player, though. He will be a great addition to future teams, and he seems to be the type of player that Coach Kelly has been built around on his (successful) past teams.

10-06-2010, 07:46 PM
Just watched his interview...I like this kid.

10-09-2010, 03:15 AM
Reggie Brooks predicts he'll return a KO for TD. I'll predict that he hurdles a tackler.

10-09-2010, 11:12 AM
I think BJ is defintelty one of the great surprises for ND this season.

10-09-2010, 08:54 PM
I think BJ is defintelty one of the great surprises for ND this season.

a BJ is always a nice surprise!

10-09-2010, 09:51 PM
a BJ is always a nice surprise!

You had to go there didn't you? Well, yes, you did, someone had to.

10-09-2010, 10:09 PM
You had to go there didn't you? Well, yes, you did, someone had to.

i couldn't resist. btw, i love Bennett Jackson and agree he is a welcome surprise to this team.

10-17-2010, 02:10 AM
Bennett Jackson Miles shuler is an Asshole lol but bouta have fun wit my boys hmu
3 hours ago via Mobile Web · Comment ·LikeUnlikeMarcus Orville Mckenzie likes this.
Dennis Clerkin Good game 2day #86
about an hour ago · LikeUnlike

Say what? I think they're friends from running track vs each other.

edit: Yes, Miles is like a little brother to Bennett.

01-31-2011, 11:21 PM
Bennett has been moved to cornerback: http://mobile.twitter.com/isdupdate

Edit: Unless, of course, he's just messing with people.

01-31-2011, 11:35 PM
Wow really??

I was just watching his high school highlights the other day and he had some moves he didn't display last year. Obviously, we need bodies over there, but he seemed like the type of guy who could do something with the ball once he got used to the speed of the game at the college level.

On the other hand, I like have speed on defense, so hopefully this works out for the kid and he puts some pounds on and likes to hit.

Domer Dog
01-31-2011, 11:35 PM
Bennett has been moved to cornerback: http://mobile.twitter.com/isdupdate

Edit: Unless, of course, he's just messing with people.

That is awesome. With his size and speed, he'll be a great DB once he's coached up. Get him on the field coach!!

01-31-2011, 11:43 PM
Wow really??

I was just watching his high school highlights the other day and he had some moves he didn't display last year. Obviously, we need bodies over there, but he seemed like the type of guy who could do something with the ball once he got used to the speed of the game at the college level.

I agree -- I thought he was someone who could do real damage after the catch. I think it's a shame to move him to the other side. But, really, we are paper thin at CB, and I don't know who would be a better candidate. Well, I do -- out of high school, a lot of people thought that Riddick would be good on offense but spectacular on defense -- but that isn't really an option.

02-01-2011, 01:21 AM
Yesterday Bennett showed ALOT.
1. Speed - He got down the field and past blocks way before other players.
2. Toughness - He brought the KR down and showed a physicality some of us wondered about when talking about potential CBs.

Well, it't only 2 things but they were big. Purdue's starting field position after KOs were horible. If he keeps that up, Ruffer shouldn't kick touchbacks.

BK about a week ago mentioned that Bennett and how he is really fast and that he will get past the secondary. I bet we will see him running a go route vs Michigan. The question is... can he catch the bomb? Also, to touch on my 2nd point, I think he could play CB based on what he showed.

And he is switching to #2.

02-01-2011, 06:44 AM
He was a good tackler on Special teams too though. Mad fast. This might work.

BTW, he's still returning kicks.

02-01-2011, 07:18 AM
you guys reckon he'll be a FS, SS or CB?
Blanton did well at Nickel maybe he'll take his spot

02-01-2011, 08:07 AM
you guys reckon he'll be a FS, SS or CB?
Blanton did well at Nickel maybe he'll take his spot

I'm thinking CB...

02-01-2011, 08:49 AM
great move by the coaches IMO. He has a defensive mentality on ST coverage units. I think he'll be a nice fit.

02-01-2011, 08:52 AM
With the loss of Okotcha it had to be done. I think he'll fit in fine coming of the bench to add depth in the secondary

02-01-2011, 04:08 PM
I found this and maybe it is a little telling. This might have been something he wanted to do. I am beginning to wonder how reactionary this is.


When he first played ST they wrote this article and there is a great quote from Bennett

I really didn't even play much defense at our high school," Jackson said. "Our coach didn't really believe in two-way players, but I like this role. I don't get too many chances to hit someone on the football field, so when I get the chance, I might as well use it."

I think He may just have that hit first mentality. I like it.

08-11-2011, 02:52 PM
http://www.irishsportsdaily.com/football/football-articles/5228-potential-for-greatness-more-work-needed (free)

For the second year in a row, sophomore Bennett Jackson is making a name for himself at Notre Dame. A year ago it was as a speedy wide receiver, as Jackson wowed coaches and teammates alike with his ability to get downfield. Jackson was one of the surprise players from the Class of 2010, and his future at Notre Dame appeared to be bright on the offensive side of the football.

When the season arrived, Jackson was not able to get on the field much as a wide receiver. He did, however, still make an impact for the Irish. Jackson was able to use his speed and toughness to make a significant impact on special teams. During his freshman season, Jackson emerged as one of Notre Dame’s best players on coverage, making his presence felt in the very first game of his career.

Notre Dame got off to a rough start a year ago, losing three straight September games to begin the season with a 1-3 record. The Irish were also scuffling in the kick return game, with the Notre Dame returners consistently failing to make plays and failing to give the offense good field position.

Special teams coordinator Mike Elston decided to give Jackson a chance to use his speed as a returner, and much like he did in the Purdue game in coverage, Jackson made his presence felt immediately. He took the first kick he saw and returned it 43 yards, giving the Notre Dame offense the football at midfield. Four plays later, quarterback Dayne Crist scored from seven yards out and the rout was on.

Jackson was the lead return man for the Irish the remainder of the season. As he heads into his sophomore campaign, Jackson hopes to be able to continue in his role as a return man, but this time with even greater success.

“I’m hoping I do have the opportunity,” Jackson said of his desire to continue to return kicks. “I prided myself on kick returns and felt like that was something I could really excel in, and I’m hoping to get the opportunity to do it again this year.”

The 6-foot-0 sophomore will have a battle on his hands, and the Irish appear to be deeper and potentially more explosive in the return game. Classmate Austin Collinsworth will be in the mix, as will a pair of athletic and speedy freshmen in George Atkinson and DaVaris Daniels. The competition will be fierce, but the speedy Jackson is confident he will be able to get the job done this fall.

While he is certain to find a home on special teams, as both a coverage man and potentially as a returner, Jackson’s other role is certainly going to be different this season. A year ago Jackson was trying to make a name for himself as a wide receiver. Now, the New Jersey native is trying to make a dent in the cornerback rotation.

Jackson was moved to cornerback during the spring practice period, and he showed flashes of being a potential standout at the position. The issue for Jackson during the spring was those moments of excellence were surrounded by mistakes that are typical of a player learning a brand new position. This fall, he hopes to limit those mistakes and make a name for himself on defense.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly sees Jackson’s talent, but also recognizes his need to continue to improve his consistency at the position.

“Bennett has flashes of greatness, but unfortunately at the wrong position to have flashes,” Kelly said of his sophomore cornerback. “You can’t have a good series and then a bad series.”

Limiting the mental and technique mistakes is something Jackson must continue to improve upon, as the Irish head man alluded to. But Jackson is steadily improving as a cornerback, due in large part to a growing comfort level at the position and with the defense.

“I feel a lot more confident in the myself,” Jackson said. “A lot more comfortable with my steps, with being on the field, everything. I just feel a lot more comfortable and confident in myself.”

As his head coach mentioned, Jackson must eliminate the mental and technical mistakes that could result in a big play for the opposition. Cornerback is a position where one mistake can often directly lead to points for an opponent. Jackson knows there is still plenty of work to be done, but he is confident that he is making good progress.

“I minimized a lot of my flaws that I was doing in the spring tremendously,” Jackson said with confidence. “Personally, I feel like I improved a lot since the spring, but I also feel like I definitely need to keep improving each day and prove a lot more.”

No matter how much Jackson improves, he says he will never stop working hard to get even better.

“I feel like there’s always room for improvement,” said the sophomore. “There’s always a guy next to you competing.”

His improvement allows the sophomore cornerback to better utilize the speed and toughness that first led the Irish coaches to consider moving him to the defensive side of the ball. Playing cornerback at Notre Dame requires instincts and quick thinking, and the better Jackson is able to play that way the faster and more physical he will be able to get things done.

“It’s kind of think first, hit second,” Jackson said of the mentality it takes to play cornerback at Notre Dame. “Especially when you’re in your drop zones, if you’re up close in Cover 2 or something, definitely.”

The physical part of the game is one of the biggest reasons Jackson was so supportive of the move to cornerback. He also believes the move gives him an opportunity to maximize his talents as a football player.

“I love the physical part,” Jackson said, with a smile finally starting to creep onto his face. “I like the switch, I think the switch was great for me. I feel like I finally get a chance to compete with a lot of the top guys on the team, and not get beat. I have a fair chance.”

One of the reasons Jackson likes the move to defense is the opportunity to emerge as a playmaker. Making more plays has been a great emphasis for the entire Notre Dame defense during the early parts of fall camp. Jackson notices that influence, and he says the defense is responding well.

“Everybody’s running to the ball, we’re doing a great job running to the ball this year,” Jackson said. “Coach (Bob) Diaco, he’s so energized each practice. He gets everybody up and energized. I feel like the coaching staff is doing a great job getting everybody to run to the football.”

Jackson and the defensive players know that chasing the football and having an emphasis on getting the football can have a big impact on the outcome of football games.

“You know, not every time the running back is going to fall with the ball,” continued Jackson. “If a fumble happens there’s not always guys around the ball to get the ball back, but if we can pick the ball up it can be a game-changer.”

More game-changers on defense would be a welcome sight this fall, and Jackson hopes he can be one of the players making those plays.

Purebred Irishman
08-07-2012, 05:04 AM

SOUTH BEND -- Even though the walls of the Notre Dame football facility are thick and security is tight, the questions/comments/criticisms/doubts leak through.

It doesn't take an in-depth probe of the 2012 Irish to come up with the areas of imperative concern: 1. Quarterback; 2. Cornerback; 3. Wide receiver.

Probably in that order.

Junior corner Bennett Jackson doesn't live his life with headphones on. He's heard the talk. In fact, the 6-foot, 185-pound Jersey guy doesn't blame those who aren't convinced.

Why should he? He's the veteran of the group with a grand total of 65 snaps on defense last season ("I haven't adjusted to the idea of being the old guy yet," he said). He has 28 career tackles, most of which came in his role as a kickoff coverage kamikaze extraordinaire.

"Everybody's so concerned about the inexperience of the cornerbacks," Jackson said after Monday's practice. "I see it and I hear it all the time. It's all around. You try not to pay attention, but if everything's all around, you're going to catch notice of some. I can understand, exactly.

"I like it. People on the outside don't know what we do every day. I know what I'm capable of. I know what our defense is capable of. I'm just excited to show it off."

Last year's starters, Gary Gray and Robert Blanton, are gone. Jackson appears to be the closest thing to a lock at one corner. On the other side, Lo Wood, Josh Atkinson and Cam McDaniel seem to be the best bets to find their way into a rotation.

Not a lot of minutes under the bright lights between those guys.

"They haven't played a ton, but that's what college football is about," said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. "People graduate, and it's the next guy's chance."

The next guy, whoever it is, will be a poster child for the premise on which Kelly's program is built: Player development.

If there were ever a bunch of guys who were in desperate need of development, it's the four fellows vying for two cornerback spots.

Even with two veterans at corner in 2011, Notre Dame still yielded 206 passing yards a game. Blanton and Gray had two interceptions each. The only other cornerback pick was one returned 57 yards for a TD by Wood against Maryland.

Heck, not only is Jackson waiting to get his first interception, his next broken-up pass will be his first.

A rarely-used receiver and special teams impact player as a freshman, Jackson is just now getting the hang of what it takes to visit that "island" on which corners must play -- and live to tell about it.

"You know all the pressure's on you at first," Jackson said of that one-on-one mentality. "I like having the pressure on me, knowing that one guy is me."

It starts with technique. Know the assignment. Execute it properly. Don't flinch. Don't back down.

And, whatever happens, don't go "fishing."

What was the toughest part of the position to learn, when he made the move from receiver?

"Being 'fished,'" Jackson said. "High-lows, receivers tricking you around. The reason why that was hard was because it came through repetitions. Not having too many reps under my belt at first, it took a little while to get onto that."

Fished? Huh?

Melting the football-ese from the explanation, the best way to describe being "fished" is being faked by the quarterback.

"The quarterback will try to pump-fake you (during a play)," Jackson said.

Bite on the fake and the receiver flies past on a deep route.

"If you jump the (pump-fake), they'll throw it to the high route," he explained. "You don't want to play 'low.' You want to play the top down."

Odds are it's going to happen. Maybe not against Navy, and the Midshipmen's option. But with Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan to follow, the heat's going to be on the Irish corners.

"You have to have a short-term memory," Jackson said. "Figure out what you did wrong and make sure it doesn't happen again."

And keep the headphones on the rest of the week.

Purebred Irishman
09-23-2012, 05:26 AM

Murf NDawg
09-23-2012, 07:24 AM
Nice Grill

12-21-2012, 08:37 AM
Notre Dame football: Jackson gets All-American help


By ERIC HANSEN - Follow me @hansenNDInsider
South Bend Tribune
10:46 p.m. EST, December 20, 2012

SOUTH BEND -- They were brought together by a seating chart, strangers who eventually became cohorts of sorts after meeting at a Notre Dame football luncheon.

"We just started talking about cornerback play in general," Irish junior corner Bennett Jackson recalled. "Then he gave me his card. I wound up running into him a few more times over the summer, at the Fantasy Camp and stuff like that.

"Eventually, I just started calling him, and now I talk to him all the time."

Those talks with Notre Dame three-time All-American Luther Bradley became an important piece in the dramatic rise of Bennett, from a preseason unknown to a player who actually had a tough decision to make this past month about whether to cash in a dream season for a second- or third-round call in April's NFL Draft.

It was never enough of a temptation, though, for Jackson to submit a request to the NFL Draft Advisory Board for a draft appraisal.

"I don't want to leave college," said Jackson, who pointed to decisions in recent years by stars Manti Te'o, Tyler Eifert and Michael Floyd that influenced his thinking.

"You build so many friendships with the players, coaches, students, local people, it's just a great environment. I do think it has to do with the people at Notre Dame. There's a bunch of great people here."

And now Notre Dame has a shockingly good pass defense to complement them.

With four first-time starters in the secondary, the Irish finished the regular-season 13th nationally in pass-efficiency defense, up 45 spots from 2011, and became the surprise element in ND's own evolution from preseason unranked to the nation's No. 1 team.

The Irish (12-0) take on No. 2 Alabama (12-1) in the BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 7 in Miami.

Bradley, incidentally, played on two Irish national championship teams (1973 and '77), and was a first-year starter himself in the '73 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama that gave coach Ara Parseghian his final national title.

"We talk about consistency in technique," Jackson said of Bradley, whose All-America seasons came in 1975, '76 and '77. "It's your mental preparation really, he told me. Cornerback is really mental. You've got to be confident."

And apparently studying the game to extremes doesn't hurt either.

Jackson regularly asks former teammates Harrison Smith and R.J. Blanton, both Minnesota Vikings rookies, to pick apart his game performances. He also studies tape of dozens of NFL players, not necessarily to adapt their techniques but learn from their successes and mistakes.

"Champ Bailey is the guy I watch the most," Jackson said of the Denver Broncos star corner. "But I watch so many guys, I don't even know half their names. I just know their numbers and their tendencies.

"I don't try to be anyone else. I have my own uniqueness. It's just another way to learn."

And this is what that learning looks like numerically -- four interceptions, twice as many as any Irish player had in 2011, and 61 tackles, second-most on the team. Typically, a corner with 61 tackles means a plethora of completed passes downfield, but Jackson racked up a lot of his big numbers in run support.

He had 16 tackles in 2011 as a backup cornerback, seven of those coming on special teams.

In 2010, Jackson was a wide receiver, but his play as a gunner on special teams got coach Brian Kelly thinking about flipping him to defense.

At Raritan High School in Hazlet, N.J., Jackson was a little bit of everything. He even was the team's primary kicker.

"My longest field goal in high school was 47 yards," he puffed. "Kicked a couple of 42-yarders too. Had a few game-winners. If I was a kicker here, they'd call me 'Golden Foot.' I'd challenge (ND kicker) Kyle Brindza to a kicking contest, but I don't want to ruin anybody's confidence."

Confidence reigns now in a secondary comprising two other converted offensive players -- sophomore Matthias Farley and true freshman KeiVarae Russell -- and senior safety Zeke Motta.

"I think the turning point for us as a unit was the Michigan game," Jackson said of a 13-6 victory in which Jackson collected one of five Irish interceptions. "That was the game Zeke and I knew Matthias and KeiVarae were going to perform the same way we were performing. We knew they weren't going to give up a big play.

"Obviously, going into the season, we were telling everybody, 'We're not giving up anything.' As time went on, we kept overcoming things. And the Michigan game was the game we really started to believe what we said all along."

Back home in Hazlet, they never doubted it, especially Raritan head coach Robert Generelli.

"It's kind of weird, because he told me even before I started getting recruited that he thought I'd be a better cornerback than receiver in college," Jackson said. "I completely blew him off. I was like, 'Yeah right.'

"As I started getting offers, some of the schools did ask me about playing defense. I still didn't pay much attention to it. I thought receiver was going to be where I'd excel. Every once in a while, I think about what it would be like had I stayed on that side of the ball. You envision that you'd catch every ball.

"But I'm where I belong. I'm glad I'm a cornerback. I'm glad to be a part of this secondary. It's all in front of me now and I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity."


01-17-2013, 11:04 AM
Bennett Jackson Jr. ‏@B_Jax2
Shoulder surgery went well guys! Thanks #NDFB
10:53 AM - 17 Jan 13

01-17-2013, 11:15 AM
Bennett Jackson Jr. ‏@B_Jax2
Shoulder surgery went well guys! Thanks #NDFB
10:53 AM - 17 Jan 13

Didn't know he was injured. This has been a persistent problem for him, no? I seem to remember he's had shoulder issues before.

07-05-2013, 11:07 AM
Ready for Prime Time ’13: #3 Bennett Jackson
Author: Frank Vitovitch Filed in: Notre Dame Football (Archive)

Bennett Jackson should continue celebrating his way to a high NDL Draft selection next spring with another strong season in 2013 for Notre Dame.

Our countdown of players ready for prime time in 2013 continues today as we switch back to the defensive side of the ball by revisiting the Notre Dame secondary.

Bennett Jackson has made an impact from day one

Since stepping foot on the Notre Dame campus in the summer of 2010, Bennett Jackson has made his presence felt. Originally recruited as a wide receiver by then head coach Charlie Weis, Jackson decided to stick with Notre Dame after Weis was let go and Brian Kelly was hired.

Jackson spent his freshman season on the offensive side of the ball, but the biggest impact he had a frosh in 2010 was on special teams were he excelled as a gunner on kick and punt coverage. Jackson’s performance was so impressive in 2010 that he was named the special teams player of the year over a kicker who had a near perfect season.

Jackson’s performance on special teams also caught the eye of the Notre Dame coaching staff as they looked to fill in some holes in the depth chart they inherited from Weis and his staff. The Irish were in need of some corners and with his athleticism and the work he put in on special teams, Jackson became a prime candidate for switching to the defensive side of the ball.

In the spring of 2011 Jackson ditched his old #86 jersey in favor of the #2 he wears now and moved over to defense.

Bennett Jackson excelled as first time starter, despite injury

After a year of standing out on specials teams once again and learning the cornerback postion, Jackson found himself in the thick of a cornerback competition heading into spring football. Lo Wood was the only returning corner with experience on the Irish roster leaving Jackson and incoming early enrollee Tee Shepard as the primary candidates for the other corner spot. Shepard, as we all know, never made it to spring practice after leaving the University shortly after enrolling leaving Jackson penciled in as a starter before spring ball ever began last year.

Notre Dame’s corner back situation became even more dire last summer when Lo Wood was lost for the year leaving Jackson, a converted wide receiver with zero career starts, as the most experienced cornerback on the roster.

Despite his lack of experience, Jackson excelled in his first season as a starting cornerback for Notre Dame. The New Jersey native collected 65 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and picked off four passes a season ago all while playing most of the season with a shoulder injury that required off-season surgery.

Jackson injured his labrum last spring but did not undergo surgery until after the season electing to play the 2012 season through the pain. While playing through that pain, Jackson helped Notre Dame turn a potential major area of weakness into a relative position of strength last year that should only get much stronger in 2013.

Bennett Jackson has the attention of NFL scouts after a strong starting debut in 2012. A strong follow up in 2013 should have Jackson hearing his name called early in next April’s draft.

As Jackson gets ready for his final season in South Bend, he will be looked at to replace the leadership Notre Dame lost on the defensive side of the ball with the graduations of Manti Te’o and Kapron Lewis-Moore

A healthy Bennett Jackson can set himself up nicely for next April

Healthy heading into the 2013 season, Bennett Jackson is shooting up NFL Draft boards already. CBS Sports has Jackson listed as the #4 CB eligible for next April’s draft already after his impressive starting debut last year. If Jackson can improve upon his already strong performance from last year, he shouldn’t have any problems being selected that high in the draft either.

Jackson intercepted four passes last year despite playing through an injury all season long. All four of Jackson’s interceptions were in close games too. He intercepted Denard Robinson in a 7 point Notre Dame victory. He picked off Robert Marve twice as well in a three point, last minute win over Purdue in September. His fourth pick came in the early goings of Notre Dame’s overtime thriller over Stanford.

Should Jackson improve on his 2012 performance and work his into the first few rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft, he will reverse a trend Notre Dame would loved to see reverse. Notre Dame hasn’t had a cornerback selected higher than the 5th round in the NFL Draft since 2001 when Brock Williams was a 3rd round pick by the New England Patriots. It’s been even longer for a first or second round corner out of Notre Dame. The last corner to get picked in the second round in the draft was Bobby Taylor by the Philadelphia Eagles 18 years ago and it’s been 20 years since Tom Carter was selected in the first round of the 1993 draft by the Washington Redskins.

Jackson has been an impact player anywhere the Notre Dame coaching staff has used him throughout his first three seasons and that won’t change in 2013. Jackson is primed for a big senior season that very well could earn him some All-American attention by the end of the season.

It’s been over a decade since Notre Dame has had an All-American cornerback. Jackson has a great chance to change that this fall.


Purebred Irishman
12-27-2013, 03:52 PM

Purebred Irishman
03-21-2014, 11:27 AM

05-08-2014, 06:13 PM