Earlier today on KSR, our positional preview series continued with the offensive line. The final group of the offense will enter this season as the most important and Kentucky feels very good with what they have on the line of scrimmage. A big reason for this is because of the man in the middle.
Drake Jackson enters his redshirt junior season with 20 starts under his belt and plenty of people starting to take notice of his game.
Kentucky returns a solid interior protector in Drake Jackson. pic.twitter.com/54FJgawIjs
— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 5, 2019
MY top 5 SEC centers for 2019:
1) Drake Jackson- Kentucky
2) Lloyd Cushenberry- LSU
3) Daryl Williams- Mississippi State
4) Trystan Colon-Castillo- Mizzou
5) Trey Hill- UGA
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) June 28, 2019
Since the former top-150 recruit took over the starting role in the middle of 2017, Kentucky has become a dominant rushing offense. Nothing proved that more than the Texas A&M game when the Versailles, Kentucky native tweaked his hamstring.
In the first five games of 2018, Kentucky put up 254.2 rushing yards per outing. While Jackson nursed that injury, Kentucky posted just 120.4 rushing yards per outing in the next five games. Once he got healthy at the end of the season, Kentucky rushed for 239.7 yards per game in the three-game winning streak to end the season. The guy in the middle makes all the difference.
Drake Jackson makes all of the calls for the offensive line and is responsible for all of the communication needed before every play. He was the only player last season in the group that did not rotate in and out of the lineup. Kentucky has to have him in the game to be firing on all cylinders.
This summer, the two-year starter was named to the Rimington Trophy watchlist and that should not be slept on. The prestigious award is given to the best center in college football yearly and Jackson has a great chance to bring the hardware home. He has that chance despite being named third-team preseason All-SEC by the media members in Hoover. He’s the straw that stirs the drink in the middle of UK’s offense and if any player outside of Lynn Bowden, Jr. is going to bring home a national award and potential All-American honors it will be the Woodford County grad.