Sophomore Defender Vincent Jackson Intrigued by WVU's Irvin - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Sophomore Defender Vincent Jackson Intrigued by WVU's Irvin


A television set in Tampa, Fla. delivered the news to Vincent Jackson that a player he feels like he compares favorably to had been selected No. 15 overall in the NFL Draft.

Bruce Irvin, the two-year defensive end for West Virginia University, was the surprise pick of day one in the selection process and when he came off the board, Jackson took notice.

A 6-foot-2, 230-pound defender from Jesuit High School, Jackson already shows 10 scholarship offers as he wraps up his sophomore year of school.

When the draft began on Thursday, he was interested to see where the former Mountaineer sack specialist would wind up, and he didn't have to wait long to find out.

"Just the way he plays," Jackson said Friday of why he's drawn to Irvin. "He's almost my exact size and we play the same position on top of that. I couldn't watch him that much on TV, but I did get to see some."

Jackson's head coach, James Harrell, believes that seeing an athlete from West Virginia come off the board so early will only help the team's cause in recruiting.

"I'm sure that helps out in terms of adding validity to the potential of playing there even though it's still early in the process," says Harrell.

But for Jackson, the decision of which school he ends up selecting will not hinge on the success of others who came before him. He will instead look at what he believes the coaching staff and the program itself can offer him to help reach his full potential.

"When it all boils down to it, my decision will be what team I can play my position at best for my team to have success and try to win whatever bowl game or championship it is," says Jackson.

Adding Jackson to the roster could certainly help whichever team he ultimately chooses in winning those championships. His frame allows for more weight to be put on if he needs to, but his athleticism is what stands out to coaches who have come looking for him.

Jackson has started at tight end for Jesuit since his freshman year while also play fullback and his roles on defense. His contributions can be found all over the field as the coaches look for all the best ways to utilize his talents.

With offers from teams like Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame and Cincinnati in addition to WVU, Jackson has interest in playing on both sides of the ball. The Mountaineers, he believes, are most intrigued by him following in the mold of a Bruce Irvin.

"Just the way I play. I play aggressive and there are a lot of guys who are 6-2, 230, but I just play different," he says. "I use my size to my advantage, but I play even bigger than I am. I take on blockers, I throw tackles to the ground and just overpower them."

Defensive line coach Erik Slaughter has been impressed enough to extend an offer and will likely visit both Jackson and Jesuit junior receiver Travis Johnson within the next month.

"We're just talking general knowledge," Jackson says of his talks with Slaughter. "He asked if I was interested and of course I'm interested in West Virginia, so we've been talking about the future."

That future is bright and will likely include many more offers by this time next year as Jackson gets set to begin his senior season in Florida. Despite the success he has had and the number of coaches whose heads he has turned, Jackson is not becoming over-confident.

"It's great. I really can't let it get to my head, though," he says. "There are guys out there who haven't gotten offers who play just like me or even better, so it just shows me I have to go out and work even harder."

Surely that mentality means the Mountaineers will have to work even harder to keep his interest in the coming years.  

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