Signee Spotlight: Interview with Kyle Jackson

Just a few months ago Kyle Jackson was one of the nation's top defensive gridiron giants, roaming the fields of North Florida in search of another victim. This past week, Jackson watched his former Fletcher High School teammates from the stands when the reality of life in motion hit him head on. spoke with Jackson about the end of this chapter and how he is preparing for the coming days in Orange and Blue. Here's what the All-American safety had to say....

Mark McLeod: Now that you're in the last days of high school and about to open another chapter, are you pretty excited right now?

Kyle Jackson: "I'm tired actually. (Laughs) I just got back in from taking my brother to Tallahassee. It's been a long day."

Mark McLeod: And now, I'm talking to you at you're your girlfriend's (Erika Pierce) house as you're trying to relax. Is she going to go to Florida?

Kyle Jackson: "Hopefully, after a year. (He says loudly) She's going to FSU."

Mark McLeod: Well, you know Earnest Graham's girlfriend was in Tallahassee at FAMU and transferred to Florida. She said that she really liked Gainesville. Maybe she'll (Erika) end up doing the same thing?

Kyle Jackson: "Really? That's good to know. I'll have to make sure that I pass that along to her." (There was little doubt in my mind that he was grinning when he said that)

Mark McLeod: How's graduation?

Kyle Jackson: "It was last Monday. We went to rehearsals in the morning, came back home to take a nap, and had to be back at three o' clock."

Mark McLeod: What did you do afterwards?

Kyle Jackson: "(Laughs) We went to sleep. Seriously. We went out to eat dinner and celebrate with family that evening, but afterwards we just went over to Erika's to relax and get some sleep."

Mark McLeod: That's one quiet graduation.

Kyle Jackson: (Laughs) "Yes, it was."

Mark McLeod: How are the workouts going?

Kyle Jackson: "Pretty good. The book (that Glass sent) is good."

Mark McLeod: Which part of the program do you find the most challenging?

Kyle Jackson: " The running drills. There aren't any lifts that I haven't done before, so I'm comfortable with all of that. But, the running drills are definitely more difficult than I've been used to. It's getting a little easier though, as I get into shape."

Mark McLeod: Who will be your roommate?

Kyle Jackson: "I think that Mike McIntosh will be my roommate."

Mark McLeod: Now that graduation has hit you, is it sinking in that your life is moving on?

Kyle Jackson: "You know, I didn't really get that feeling at graduation. It really hit me at the spring football jamboree. It was the first time that I wasn't on the field playing with my teammates."

Mark McLeod: Where did you have to watch it from?

Kyle Jackson: " The stands. I was in the stands with Ciatrick, Danny Disch, and some friends."

Mark McLeod: What pearls of wisdom has Ciatrick given you?

Kyle Jackson: "The one thing that he said to me was, "Come and play your game. Play how you know how to play". He knows how I play and I guess that he wanted me to understand that I just needed to come in and be myself."

Mark McLeod: I know that one of the assistants, Fedora was over there this week?

Kyle Jackson: "Yeah, I think that he was here for the jamboree. I saw him while he was here. He came up to me and said, "Man, you're getting kinda big there", which I guess that I am."

Mark McLeod: How much weight have you gained?

Kyle Jackson: "Well, I weigh 190, but it's a solid 190 now."

Mark McLeod: What expectations have the coaches given you?

Kyle Jackson: "They've told me, "If you come in conditioned properly, then compete for a starting position or at least playing time."

Mark McLeod: What one aspect of your game needs to improve before that happens?

Kyle Jackson: "Speed. I wish that I would wake up one day and run a 4.2, but that's just not going to happen. I have to continue working harder. These workouts are definitely improving my strength though."

The Florida defensive backfield resembles a puzzle passed down from garage sale to garage sale. You can see the potential, but several pieces are missing. Defensive backs coach Dan Disch will earn every penny this season. And to earn some of those Lincoln's, he'll simply have to rely on his memory. As the former Ed White Head Coach, Dan Disch fully understands the ability of Kyle Jackson. He's seen plenty of Jackson in the past three years, and you can bet that he's glad to have Kyle Jackson finally among his charges.

Jackson will experience the game like other incoming freshmen before him and he will probably be surprised at the speed of the game at this level. It'll be quite an adjustment for him. However, from the highlights we've seen of him it appears that he's a real ball hawk that plays a solid mental game. He's also got the physical tools which will continue to develop and fine-tune. It'll definitely be interesting to see him take on the field as a freshman.

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