Of Petrino's first recruiting haul, 17 athletes were redshirted, giving them an additional year to become, 'bigger, stronger and faster.' Part of the joy of spring practice is to see how much the redshirt freshmen have developed and how they begin to fit into the offensive and defensive schemes.
"It's a good group," commented Petrino. "We had seventeen guys that redshirted, so it'll be fun to see how those guys do."
Safety Malik Jackson is among those that redshirted and expects to challenge for signicant time this fall.
Jackson is described by most as a physical, hard-hitting defensive back, with good speed and nose for the ball. He can be a great asset to a defense that will likely utilize the safety and corner blitz more frequently this season.
While Jackson, who was a two-year starter at Dunwoody High School in Georgia, understands the need for a redshirt season, he is quickly to point out that it's not easy to sit a year of football.
"The hardest part for me was, at first, it seemed like we were practicing for no reason," explained Jackson. "I just keep working hard, so when it is my turn to be on the field that I'll be ready to play. I'm just going to keep conditioning so I'll be ready for spring."
With spring practice scheduled to begin on Thursday, March 25th, there is no question that a lot of eyes, including those of defensive coordinator Mike Gillhamer and secondary coaches Joe Whitt, Jr. and Mike Cassity, that will focus on Jackson's play.
"That will be the great thing about spring and conditioning to see where they can fit in," Petrino said about Malik and his fellow redshirts. "They have had a great attitude about everything that we've given them."