It’s that game that still haunts him today. It’s part of why he said, “I didn’t think I did well at all” last season to a group of reporters outside OSU’s locker room on Wednesday.
For Jackson, the early spring practice period has been filled with tennis ball-catching drills and personal attention with the Cowboys’ trio of potential starting quarterbacks. It’s all about repetition, hand placement and confidence.
“I haven’t stopped working on my hands since the season ended,” Jackson said. “I’m relentless with that. I know I have a lot to make up to Poke fans. I’m ready to do that.”
Jackson's upside was potent at times down the seam last season. He averaged more than 19.9 yards per catch, a team-high. All three of his touchdown catches went for at least 46 yards.
Jackson’s thick frame makes him a tough tackle by opposing defenses. Combine that with flat-line speed, and he's capable of putting up even bigger numbers.
“I take pride that whenever I get the ball, you never know how far the play can go,” Jackson said. “I really like the fact that that’s a part I can bring to the team.”
Tracy Moore’s seen it up close. He says Jackson “definitely has big-play ability.” But Moore’s also battled adversity similar to Jackson’s. It sometimes can be difficult to accept that one mistake doesn’t dictate the outcome of games.
“He’s playing Division I football, there’s a lot more people in the stands, a lot more pressure,” Moore said. “A couple times, he kind of folded under that pressure. He’s really hard on himself about it. Even with my injury, I tried to be a little mentor to him. Tell him to keep his head up and don’t worry about it. Just play the next play.”
Jackson’s already been through the rigors of a full season in the Big 12 after transferring from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College. He believes that experience can only lead to better production next season for the Cowboys.
“I had my good plays and my bad plays,” Jackson said. “It’s not just even catching the ball or blocking. I just want consistency overall. I want to dominate every play like I know I can.”