Jeremy Jackson, #17

Tag: Jeremy Jackson

6Mar 2014
Uncategorized 11 comments

Jeremy Jackson, #17


In the 2010 Season Countdown, I identified Jackson as the least likely freshman receiver to play. It turns out that I was entirely wrong on my conclusion, but my reasoning was pretty sound. Anyway, Jackson was a Rivals 3-star wide receiver and the #22 player in the state of Michigan, but he was a way early commit (October 1, 2008) who selected the Wolverines over Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska, among others. He attended Ann Arbor (MI) Huron, across town from where his father, Fred, was the running backs coach for the Wolverines.

Fellow class of 2010 wideouts Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson redshirted as freshmen (slot receiver Drew Dileo played a little), but Jackson played in ten games and caught 2 passes each against Wisconsin and Ohio State for a total of 55 yards. The hiring of Brady Hoke in 2011 didn’t change Jackson’s role much as he caught 3 passes for 36 yards as a sophomore. As a junior in 2012, he made 4 catches for 31 yards and a whopping 7.8 yards/catch. He achieved career highs in 2013 with 6 catches for 71 yards.

17 catches, 193 yards, 11.4 yards/catch; 3 tackles

Academic All-Big Ten in 2012

I am struggling to come up with the appropriate words to describe Jackson’s career. He is a player whose recruitment and playing career confounded me to some extent. If I’m being bluntly honest, I do not believe he was a Michigan-caliber player, nor am I convinced that he should have played as much as he did. I began seriously following recruiting in 2006, but the 2010 class happened to come about around the time when I started blogging, which caused me to evaluate recruits on a deeper level. I had serious questions at the time about whether Jackson was deserving of an offer, and I think I made some enemies on various message boards by being so insistent. The timing of my blogging “hobby” has nothing to do with Jackson himself, but he represents some of the first strong feelings I had about the direction of Michigan’s recruiting efforts. I’m not sure I’ve seen another Michigan receiver garner so much playing time without having a single skill to hang his hat on – speed, size, blocking ability, hands, leaping ability, running ability, something. In four years, 46 games, and four career starts, Jackson made just 17 catches. By comparison, Dileo played the same four years and saw a similar amount of playing time, but he was able to make 46 catches for 629 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jackson stayed out of trouble and did not detract from the face of the program during his college years (unlike a couple stupid kickers), and I wish I had more positive things to say about a kid who played for four years in a winged helmet.

. . . being the first player whose Michigan offer I seriously questioned.

Jackson is listed at 6’3″ and 209 lbs. and I would assume he will participate in Michigan’s pro day later this month, although I am not aware of all the players who are certain to work out that day. However, Jackson’s lack of production and athleticism will likely prevent him from having any kind of professional football career.

20Dec 2013
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Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Preview: Receivers and Tight Ends

Tyler Lockett is the key to Kansas State’s passing game.

Starters: The diminutive fifth year senior Jeremy Gallon (5’8″, 184 lbs.) is the go-to guy, and he had an all-conference season with 80 catches, 1284 yards, and 9 touchdowns. He can be effective on just about any route – screens, hitches, square ins, fades, double moves, jump balls, etc. Aside from his lack of height (which he makes up for with his leaping ability and the timing of those leaps), he doesn’t have truly blazing speed, so he sometimes pulls away before getting tracked down in a foot race. The other starting wide receiver is sophomore Devin Funchess (6’5″, 235 lbs.), who made all-conference listed as a tight end but rarely plays it anymore; he has 47 catches for 727 yards and 6 scores. Funchess is Michigan’s bubble screen guy, leaps over tacklers sometimes, runs an occasional end around, and can beat teams deep. The de facto starting tight end is freshman Jake Butt (6’6″, 246 lbs.), who has come on late in the season to catch 17 balls for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns. Butt can do a little bit of everything between blocking, catching, and running.
Backups: Redshirt freshman Jehu Chesson (6’3″, 196 lbs.) started a little bit early in the year before Funchess’s blocking became too big of a problem at tight end, and while Chesson’s playing time has dropped a little bit, he’s actually improved his route running and ability to adjust to the ball in the air. He has 13 catches for 213 yards and 1 touchdown. Senior Drew Dileo (5’10”, 180 lbs.) is the only other significant receiving threat, but he’s a possession guy who usually works over the middle. Occasionally, senior Jeremy Jackson (6’3″, 209 lbs.) or redshirt senior Joe Reynolds (6’1″, 196 lbs.) will pop up for a catch, but they’ve totaled just 10 catches for 140 yards and 0 scores this year. Sophomore A.J. Williams (6’6″, 265 lbs.) and redshirt junior Jordan Paskorz (6’3″, 255 lbs.) are the “blocking” tight ends that struggle to block, and while they’ll be on the field a fair amount, they have just 1 total catch.

Starters: The clear leader of the receiving corps is junior Tyler Lockett (5’11”, 175 lbs.), who has 71 catches for 1,146 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. Lockett has made a lot of big catches for the Wildcats and can be a real threat to the secondary on deep routes. Fifth year senior Tramaine Thompson (5’8″, 167 lbs.) is also a big-play guy from the slot with 28 catches for 495 yards (17.7 yards/catch) and 5 touchdowns. Junior Curry Sexton (5’11”, 183 lbs.) is the other receiver in K-State’s three-wide attack, and he’s been more of a possession guy with 36 catches for 409 yards. Redshirt junior tight end Zach Trujillo is rarely targeted, but he has 5 catches for 111 yards and 1 touchdown.
Backups: Senior Torell Miller (6’3″, 213 lbs.) is a former safety who was expected to start this year in place of Sexton, but he’s been relegated to backup duty and 11 catches, 106 yards, and 1 touchdown. Redshirt sophomore Kyle Klein (6’4″, 210 lbs.) is a former defensive end who has 5 catches for 59 yards on the season. Fifth year senior Andre McDonald (6’8″, 278 lbs.) is a mammoth blocking tight end who has just 2 catches for 19 yards this season. It’s a very thin group of receivers.

Michigan has two guys who can be consistent deep threats, and another who has the speed to do so. Gallon has been outstanding this year and was one of the top couple receivers in the conference, while Funchess is simply a matchup nightmare. The other guys aren’t very scary, but Chesson, Dileo, and Butt can all be good secondary targets and move the chains. Meanwhile, Kansas State has a guy who can blow up in the form of Lockett, plus a somewhat dangerous slot guy in Thompson. In a couple closely contested shootouts against Big 12 opponents, Lockett has gone over 230 yards (237 against Texas, 278 against Oklahoma), and he’s the guy that quarterbacks Jake Waters and Daniel Sams will look to if things get rough. If the Wildcats can move the ball consistently on the ground, they’ll settle for trying to win the game without putting the ball in the air too much. Tight ends have hurt Michigan in a few games this year (Minnesota’s Maxx Williams, Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ohio State’s Jeff Heuerman), but that shouldn’t be a persistent problem in this game. It’s a tall task to stop Lockett, but he’s the key to their passing game.


25Nov 2013
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Michigan vs. Iowa Awards

Brennen Beyer

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Dennis Norfleet. The kid is small but feisty and has big-play potential. Offensive coordinator Al Borges used him early in the year as a tip-off to the fact that Norfleet was about to get the ball. Once everyone figured that out, Borges just stopped using Norfleet altogether. So he’s exciting enough to put him on the field to get him the ball . . . but he’s not exciting enough to use as a decoy or even a situational player. But hey, Jeremy Jackson has averaged 11.4 yards/catch in four years and never scored a touchdown or had a play longer than 22 yards, so let’s keep him out there.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Jeremy Jackson. He has no purpose. Bizarro Fred Jackson says “He’s like LaTerryal Savoy but slower.”

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Jake Ryan. This is more just a way to say that I’m glad he’s back. I still don’t think he’s 100%, but the guy is a playmaker and a heavy hitter. He had 5 tackles, 1 pass breakup, and a hit on quarterback Jake Rudock that turned into a 7-yard interception touchdown for defensive end Brennen Beyer.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Courtney Avery. It’s rare that players regress throughout their careers, but Avery would be one of those examples. He was overmatched as a freshman, played really well as a sophomore, took a step back as a junior, and now seems like a weak link in the secondary. The coaches moved him from nickel corner to safety in order to push guys like sophomore Jarrod Wilson, and while Wilson has been far from perfect, I think he’s a clear step up from Avery. I liked the kid better when he was a slot corner and not one of the last lines of defense.

Play of the game . . . Brennen Beyer’s interception return for a touchdown. On Iowa’s first offensive play, Jake Ryan came on a blitz and hit Rudock as he was releasing the ball, resulting in a pick six for Beyer. It was the most exciting play of the day for the Wolverines, who couldn’t create much of anything on offense. Honorable mention goes to Devin Gardner’s scrambling 2-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Williams, where Gardner looked like he was going to take a gain of zero yards before stepping back and casually tossing the ball to Williams, who had been let go by defenders coming up to stop the run. It was Williams’s first career catch and first career touchdown, and I wouldn’t argue with somebody who said that was the play of the day.

MVP of the game . . . Raymon Taylor. Taylor had 8 solo tackles (9 total), 1 diving interception, and what was technically a fumble recovery on Iowa’s first half-ending botched field goal snap. Taylor should have picked up the ball and run for what could have been a touchdown, but he still had nice coverage the entire game, tackled quickly, and was just a hair late to notch a couple pass breakups.

24Nov 2013
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Iowa 24, Michigan 21

Brennen Beyer returns an interception 7 yards for a touchdown (image via Times Union)

This happened because of three guys. In my opinion, this game came down to the absence – literally and figuratively – of three players. First of all, Michigan middle linebacker Desmond Morgan (0 tackles) left the game in the first quarter due to what was rumored to be a concussion, which would be at least his second in college. Then weakside linebacker James Ross (6 tackles) left the game in the second half, although it’s unclear what that injury was. And Devin Funchess (1 catch, 2 yards; 1 carry, 10 yards) might as well have been out due to injury, because he was completely useless. He dropped four passes by my count, and he can’t block. So the Wolverines were without their two leading tacklers, which suggests it wasn’t a coincidence that the Hawkeyes were able to turn on their running game in the second half. Michigan’s defensive line is solid but unspectacular, and what helped them rank #13 against the run going into this game was their technically sound linebackers. When you’re left with sophomore Joe Bolden (4 tackles) and freshman Ben Gedeon (3 tackles) as your two inside linebackers, that’s a recipe for struggles. Iowa running backs Damon Bullock (1 for 8), Jordan Canzeri (9 for 40), and Mark Weisman (10 for 45) had a total of 20 carries for 93 yards after halftime, helping Iowa to hold the ball for 18:23 of the second half.

Games are won in the trenches. I know this is an old adage, but it’s true. And it’s frustrating to watch Michigan get beaten so badly up front in every single game. I’ve said it over and over again, but Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield aren’t dominating like they should, and the interior linemen can’t get any kind of push ever. They say that even the best linemen in the NFL win just over half their battles, and that’s what separates them from the other guys; well, Michigan’s guards and center aren’t close to winning half their battles in the run game. It’s an abomination. Michigan’s running backs combined for 17 carries and 35 yards in this one, with a long run of 9 yards. The offensive line allowed 11 tackles for loss. That sounds really bad, but that’s been the norm – the Wolverines are averaging 10.5 tackles for loss allowed this year. For comparison’s sake, Michigan has a pretty good defense and averages 5.7 TFL’s a game.

Devin Gardner might retire. Gardner had one of his least effective performances this year, going 13/28 for 98 yards, 2 touchdowns, and giving away the game-clinching fumble; he also ran 10 times for 12 yards, despite only getting sacked once. He’s lost a step, he’s running tentatively, and he just looks downright scared of taking more of a beating at times. After the game, he was reportedly favoring his right arm. Obviously, Michigan needs him if they have any hope of beating Ohio State next week, but with his diminishing health and the sorry state of the offensive line, I would not be surprised at all if Gardner doesn’t finish next week’s contest.

Graham Glasgow snapping mistake? Check. I swear I don’t think I’ve ever seen a college center with as many snapping issues as Glasgow. With the exception of the Northwestern game last week, Glasgow has had a snapping error every week. This week’s blunder was a snap infraction on a 1st-and-Goal from the 4-yard line in the fourth quarter that pushed the Wolverines back to the 9. After an incomplete pass and a nothing run, Gardner bailed him out with a touchdown pass to Gallon.

Good grief, Jeremy Jackson is terrible. Usually I try to stay objective, so this is an angry rant I’m allowing myself near the completion of a frustrating season. Senior Jeremy Jackson’s one late wide-open catch for a first down does not erase the fact that he should not be on the field. Like, at all. Ever. The final straw for this rant came yesterday when I saw him standing around not blocking anyone while Devin Gardner was getting tackled. He can’t run, he can’t jump, and he can’t block. The guy is a preferred walk-on at best, or maybe a Division II athlete. I never understood* why he was offered by Rich Rodriguez in the 2010 class, and his performance over the last four years has only solidified those feelings. Da’Mario Jones, Dennis Norfleet, and Joe Reynolds are all better athletes, and you could probably get a better blocking effort out of walk-ons Bo Dever or Blaise Stearns, just to name a couple. I actually have some respect and empathy for Rodriguez, but one look at that 2010 class makes me want to vomit. The guy took 27 players in that class, and after you list the top three (Jake Ryan, Devin Gardner, Jibreel Black), you start to get in the murky territory of trying to rank Jackson, your holder/fifth receiver (Drew Dileo), your journeyman defensive back (Courtney Avery), your journeyman tight end/defensive end/linebacker (Jordan Paskorz), or your weed-loving suspended punter (Will Hagerup). Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Erm . . . uh . . . yeah, Jeremy Jackson. He’s bad.

Let’s end on a high note. (Not that kind of high note, Hagerup.) So how about Blake Countess, Raymon Taylor, and Brennen Beyer picking off those terrible throws from Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock? Let’s be honest – those picks were more about Rudock being bad than Michigan having great coverage, but these Michigan cornerbacks are better playmakers than we’ve had in a while. For a little while – the J.T. Floyd years, basically – Michigan struggled to make any plays at cornerback, and the notable plays from defensive backs had to come from the safeties. Taylor’s still afraid to tackle running backs, but overall, I like where Michigan’s headed in the defensive backfield. And kudos to Beyer, who has made some steps forward this year and tallied his first interception and first touchdown.

Just kidding. What does this mean for the Ohio State game? Probably doom.

*Of course, I know Jeremy Jackson was mainly offered because his dad is the running backs coach. Also, aliens.

4Nov 2013
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Michigan vs. Michigan State Awards

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Drew Dileo. Dileo is/was recovering from an injury, which is why he didn’t play much on Saturday, but I think he makes Michigan’s offense very difficult to defend. With Jeremy Gallon and Devin Funchess on the outside, a healthy Dileo working the middle is a tough third option. Most teams have a quick and/or fast slot receiver to use, but Michigan’s slot option at this point is the lumbering Jeremy Jackson. Hopefully Dileo can come back fully healthy for the remainder of the year.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Jeremy Jackson. I really don’t care who enters the game in his place, but Jackson needs to have his feet glued to the sideline. I sincerely have not seen a slower, less athletic wide receiver get significant playing time for Michigan in my entire life. He can’t get separation and can’t jump, and he’s not a good enough blocker to justify putting him on the field. Whether it’s Dennis Norfleet, Joe Reynolds, or Da’Mario Jones, somebody should be taking Jackson’s snaps.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Blake Countess at left cornerback. I keep seeing teams pick on Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling on the outside, and I can’t help but think that maybe Countess would be best used on the outside. Stribling is a good sized, fairly physical kid, and Dymonte Thomas has been practicing at nickel corner; one of those two guys might be worth a look instead of putting Stribling/Lewis out there, both of whom have been beaten regularly.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . the freshman corners. For the reasons stated above. I think they’ll both be good down the road, but they’re not right now.

Play of the game . . . Devin Gardner’s 58-yard pass to Jehu Chesson. There really aren’t many options for play of the game, but this was a solid one, regardless. Gardner launched a deep ball down the left hash, and the youngster Chesson – who has had a hard time adjusting to balls in the air – leaped up to grab it in double coverage. Not only was it Michigan’s longest play of the day, but it showed that Michigan might have another developing deep threat for other teams to respect. Michigan currently has three guys who can get vertical – Chesson, Gallon, and Funchess – and even with Gallon graduating after this year, there could be more guys to stretch the field with Da’Mario Jones, Drake Harris, Freddy Canteen, and/or Maurice Ways potentially earning time.

MVP of the game . . . Frank Clark. In what was essentially a blowout loss with very little scoring, it’s tough to pick a real MVP. The most productive guy on offense was Jehu Chesson (3 catches, 82 yards), and usual stalwarts Devin Gardner (14/27 passing, 210 yards, 1 pick; 18 carries for -46 yards), Jeremy Gallon (5 catches, 67 yards), and Devin Funchess (6 catches, 65 yards) were mostly held in check. Clark, though, had a career-high 9 tackles, a career-high 2.5 tackles for loss, and 1 quarterback hurry. Michigan State had a very difficult time handling him up front.