NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Bennett Jackson will be home for the holidays. The senior cornerback will be with the Fighting Irish when they head to New York on Dec. 23 in preparation for the Dec. 28 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Jackson is also a Hazlet, NJ native, which means he will be playing the final game of his collegiate career only about 45 minutes (with no traffic, of course) away from where most of his friends and family live.
"It means a lot," said Jackson this week of ending his career so close to home. "A lot of my family, friends and close followers and support back from home didn't really get a chance to come to a lot of the games."
"Now I'll get a chance to see them. I can actually stay after the game in New Jersey a little longer and see my family. It's just really great that I get to play at home in my last game in front of all my family."
Jackson's Hazlet home is also not far from the campus of Notre Dame's Pinstripe Bowl opponent - Rutgers - in Piscataway, NJ, but he never gave the state school of New Jersey much thought during his recruiting process. He was also never much of a baseball fan growing up near the Jersey Turnpike.
"I always liked the Yankees," Jackson said. "Probably just because of their hats, but I've always liked the Yankees. If I had to pick a team - that would be my team."
He never saw a game at the old Yankee Stadium prior to the new one being built in 2009. Jackson's only previous Yankee Stadium experience is the one he played in - Notre Dame's 27-3 win over Army on Nov. 20, 2010 during Jackson's freshman season.