Defender Hoping For A Chance

Defensive lineman Darrius Jackson talks about his performance at last weekend's combine in Tuscaloosa.

Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Every year there is a player or two that sneaks through the cracks to become a superstar on the next level. Four years ago defensive lineman Elvis Dumerville came out of Jackson High in Miami and most thought he was too small to play on the next level, but he proved everyone wrong by leading the nation in sacks at Louisville last season.

A player that is reminiscent of Dumerville is defensive lineman Darrius Jackson from Fairfield High in Birmingham. Measuring in at 5-10, 224 at Saturday's Combine in Tuscaloosa, Jackson ran a respectable time of 5.03 in the 40-yard dash and had a very good 4.55 short shuttle time. But it was in the one-on-one drills where Jackson made his mark.

One of the top defensive line performers on the day, Jackson routinely got past his opponent to sack the dummy in the backfield. He said that while he wasn't pleased with some of the aspects of his performance, all in all it was a good day.

"It was pretty nice going against different people from different schools," Jackson said. "I know what they've got and what we got. I expected the unexpected. It was a great experience and a lot of fun.

"My 40-yard dash time wasn't what I thought it was going to be, but it was decent. I had to do my thing out there. That's what it's all about, just matching up with the guy in front of you when he doesn't know what you're doing to do. It was just a lot of experience for me."

While there were several defensive linemen that stood out, most of the people came to watch offensive line prospects such as Ryan Pugh, Henry Porter and others perform. Jackson said that for him two of the top players he saw were names that were already getting attention from schools around the South this spring.

"The kid from Mountain Brook was pretty good," Jackson said of William Vlachos. "Caleb (Caleb Thomas) from Decatur was also really good. He was very nice out there."

Already hearing from schools as they continue to come through Fairfield on their tours around the state, Jackson should pick up some interest following his impressive outing on Saturday. He said that at the moment he doesn't have a favorite, but plans to take in several camps after his team finishes spring practice later this month.

"I'm hearing from Memphis, Alabama, Samford, Clemson, LSU and a couple of other schools," Jackson said. "I don't have any offers yet, but a couple of coaches came by the school like Arkansas and UAB. They came by and looked at us.

"I'm coming back to the Alabama camp and I'll hit several other camps," he added. "We start spring practice on Monday and I'm ready. We'll just get things going for the season."

As a junior Jackson was very active for a Fairfield defense that was one of the top units in Alabama. He finished with 75 tackles, 24 tackles for a loss, 19 quarterback pressures and six sacks. Throw is a bench press of 365 and a squat of 610 and you have one of the biggest sleepers in the state this year.

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