High school All-American Drake Jackson took his first snaps as a Wildcat against Eastern Michigan. The redshirt freshman successfully completed every transaction with the quarterback, but he got off to a rough start.
“He played good. He started slow the first play,” Stoops laughed. “After that he settled in and really did some good things. He did. He was consistent and he was effective the rest of the day.”
A blitz caught got the best of Jackson on the first play. Even though he gained the trust of the coaches in practice and was prepared for the blitz, you can’t simulate game speed in practice.
“I think it just happens faster,” said Stoops. “He was prepared for that exact look with that exact run game and it hit him a little quicker than he realized.”
Moving forward, Jackson’s attitude and ability set him up for an excellent career at Kentucky.
“No. 1, it starts with his attitude, what you’re always looking for. He has a great attitude, a great work ethic, he’s very conscientious, he wants to win for his team, he wants the team to do well…he wants the team to be productive when he’s in the game. I think that’s always a great start, but he’s been consistent with his snaps and he’s assignment-sharp for a young guy. He has good leverage. His height and his weight, as he gets stronger he’ll be more prepared for some of the big bodies that he faces. Technique is such a big deal at offensive line, in particular at center.”
It was a rough start, but the future is bright for the Woodford County kid.