Grambling State University defensive lineman Rodney Jackson is no stranger to success on and off the field.
Jackson is a two time national champion and a three time conference champion who led the nation in field goal blocks and is an NFL prospect.
Although his time as a GSU Tiger is done, Jackson is hoping his journey isn’t over yet.
Following the 2018 season Jackson was invited to several bowls granting him the opportunity to showcase his talents to over 32 NFL scouts and numerous CFL scouts. Now he continues to train for Grambling’s pro day that will be held on March 19.
“I plan on breaking my body down to build it back up,” Jackson said regarding his preparation for pro day. “I try to go beyond the limits of my body every chance I get. I plan on having the best pro day of anyone of my position period.”
Jackson was recently profiled by NFL Draft Diamonds who project him to be a undrafted free agent signing to the NFL.
“Rodney Jackson is built like a Tank (and) hits like one too,” Damond Talbot of NFL Draft Diamonds wrote.
Jackson, who goes by the nickname “King Supah”, is described by many of his teammates as a leader and a mentor.
Jackson is from the small town of Bastrop, La. where he is viewed as an inspiration and hometown hero by many.
“A lot of people look up to me because I’ve made it further than the average person from Bastrop,” Jackson said. “[I’m the] hometown hero – doing what others couldn’t or didn’t get the opportunity to do. They’re living through me so they keep pushing me further and further.”
Standing at 6’2” and weighing 290 pounds, size has always been a prominent issue in Jackson’s athletic career. He explained that when he was growing up he was always the bigger kid.
“In Bastrop there’s a weight limit for peewee football so I could never play,” Jackson said. “My seventh grade year, I was tired of being the big kid so I lost weight. Finally, in eighth grade I got a chance to play and every time I stepped on the field I was always the better athlete. The bigger kid and the better athlete, crazy right?”
Jackson’s success on the field in his younger years led him to play for his high school team, the Bastrop Rams. What may seem as a small accomplishment to most meant the world to the young Jackson.
“Growing up in Bastrop, there was no NFL for us, no college football,” Jackson said. “If you played ball for Bastrop High you were a superstar.”
Jackson said he gained the recognition and stardom in his hometown from not only playing for his high school team but dominating on the field.
Jackson’s career didn’t stop there he had multiple offers coming out of high school to play at the collegiate level. He decided to attend Southern Arkansas, but his time there would be short. In leaving his original choice Jackson had to decide where he would be taking his talents next.
“I decided to leave Southern Arkansas because my recruiting coach ended up leaving two days before I got there,” Jackson said. “The new coaches and I weren’t really meshing. The clashes began to affect my playing time and I couldn’t accept that. I sent in my practice highlights and sent it to a couple coaches and it got in the hands of Coach Buddy Stephens and he called me within the next 15 minutes explaining how he wanted me to come to EMCC.”
Luckily, Jackson got the opportunity to go to a very successful and well-known football program at East Mississippi Community College. Many may recognize the school from the popular Netflix docu-series “Last Chance U”.
Jackson was not only featured in the series but also had an amazing season there as well. In the 2016-17 season Jackson had 30 sacks and won a national championship with the EMCC Lions.
Seems like a good ending to happy story, right? Wrong. Jackson wasn’t done yet. With two years of eligibility left, he knew he couldn’t stay at EMCC forever. Jackson received a call from Broderick Fobbs, Grambling’s head football coach, while sitting in the academic center at EMCC.
“He continued to pursue me since the call and it showed that he truly wanted me in his program,” Jackson said.
After talking to close family and friends, Jackson decided to come closer to his hometown and committed to Grambling State University.
Jackson meshed instantly into the G-Men defense and with coaches, players and staff on and off the field.
In the 2017-18 season Jackson helped Grambling to a conference championship. Unfortunately, the G-Men were unable to secure a spot at the SWAC championship in the 2018-2019 season. However, Jackson lead the nation in blocked field goals.
“I never led the nation in anything so it was very special to me,” Jackson expressed.
From a Ram to a Lion to a Tiger, which team will Rodney Jackson represent next?