The Spartans have their eyes on a defensive tackle from the Class of 2018 who’s considered a “run-stopper.” He’s already camped at Michigan State for the “Big Man Camp,” and he certainly has his own eyes on MSU.
“It’s a very nice school. I really like Michigan State,” said Eli Jackson, a 6’1”, 280-pound DT out of Muskegon, MI.
“Just the particular drills that they had us doing that I had never really done before, mainly the one-on-ones because I was very new to it,” Jackson told Spartan Nation of what stood out to him at MSU’s Big Man Camp. “I look forward to going back there and seeing my progress and how good I got.”
Eli says one of his idols is fellow-Muskegon High School defensive lineman, Damon Knox, who went on to play for the Spartans from 2011-2015. Knox was a three-year letterwinner for Michigan State, played in 38 games and amassed 42 career tackles. He graduated from MSU in December 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
Jackson hopes to follow in Knox’s footsteps, both on the field and in the classroom. He will be heading this weekend to visit Penn State and Virginia Tech.
“I’m doing very good in school. I’m a honor roll student,” he explained. This semester, I ended with a 3.2. But last year, I had a 4.0, so I’m really looking forward to getting back on that track.”
As for on the field, Eli is aware of what coaches view positively and negatively in his game.
“A lot of coaches just like how I stuff the run,” Jackson said. “I really plan on getting more sacks this year, running around more. I really plan on just getting more sacks and getting to the quarterback more.”
“I always use the saying, ‘If you can’t out-run them…out-power them, so that’s how I became a run-stuffer. I just think, ‘Can’t nobody block me,” Eli explained.
As for the things he needs to improve on, he admitted, “I probably have to get my footwork better, my speed and agility – that’s something me and [Head Coach Shane] Fairfield have been working on a lot here at Muskegon. So I just plan on getting faster and still getting stronger – you’re never too strong. Keep getting faster and getting stronger so I can get to the quarterback more often.”
But what separates Eli is his passion for something that some athletes don’t enjoy – the weight room.
“Yeah, that’s what I love; I really love the weight room. I’m banging on the door. I currently bench 325 [pounds] and I squat 430 [pounds].
However, he admitted he is yet to see Michigan State’s weight room – during the camp he attended, which was prior to the renovation to workout facilities, the players spent most of the time in the indoor facility and did not get to see the weight room.
But maybe, if all the cards fall correctly down the road, Eli Jackson will get to experience the MSU weight room, and even more, as an actual member of the Spartans, which would fit perfectly for a kid out of Muskegon with a soft spot for Michigan State.
“I liked all the schools, but I always had love for Michigan State. It was always a good school.”
What sets Jackson apart and you have to keep coming back to it is his father. Fred Jackson passed away when Eli was only ten and it still motivates the young man. “I play every game and everything that I do for my dad who died when I was young and my best friend.” His best friend is J’Mari Harris. Harris was murdered last summer.
That passion fuels and his talent allows him to get noticed. That is a nice combination for the highly talented young man. Keep it tuned to Spartan Nation for the latest on his recruitment.J'Mari Harris J'Mari Harris