Arkansas State veteran running back coach David Gunn was all smiles at the RedWolves Athletic complex here Thursday morning, apparently he had good reason to be excited.
Gunn learned on Wednesday that he will have another running back to add to his stable, as red-shirt freshman Frankie Jackson made the necessary grades in the first summer session to be eligible to play football this fall for the Red Wolves.
"We are very excited about Frankie being eligible and Frankie is very excited," Coach Gunn told AStateNation.com. "Frankie worked extremely hard this past year and he has completed all the necessary work and satisfied all the requirements to play this fall."
Jackson graduated from Capitol HS out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana two years ago, but was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for complete clearance to play, but was ruled he was able to be placed on scholarship at ASU and work and focus on his academics.
"It's been a long year for him," Coach Gunn said. "He set out a year and wasn't able to practice or workout with the team. It's definitely a weight lifted off of him personally."
When asked if Coach Gunn thought Jackson would be ready physically this fall, the veteran coach was quick to respond.
"Oh yeah," Coach Gunn smiled. "One of Frankie's outstanding attributes is his strong worth ethic. He has worked out on his own, he has maintained his physical shape and there is no doubt in my mind he will show up ready to go."
According to Coach Gunn, Jackson will remind fans of someone they were familiar with that played not too far from Jonesboro.
"He will remind people of DeAngelo Williams a lot," Gunn said. "Actually Frankie might have a little more power than DeAngelo. He is definitely a back that can make you miss in open field and we need that with our offensive package."
How did Jackson react to the good news on Wednesday?
"Like a kid on Christmas morning," Coach Gunn said. "Now that it's behind him, he can move forward and concentrate on getting a degree from Arkansas State (which we will make sure of) and for him to play football for the RedWolves this fall."
Jackson, a 5-foot-9, 185 pound athlete, rushed for 2,545 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior in high school. How fast is Jackson?
"I don't know if he is our fastest guy," Coach Gunn said. "He might be."
Does Coach Gunn feel that Jackson can break into the line up this fall?
"That has to be earned," Gunn said. "Each year going into fall camp the question we ask everyone is what have you done for me lately. He definitely will get his chance, and he could definitely be a factor this season for us."
Jackson will be a redshirt freshman this fall and will have four years to play at Arkansas State.