"He runs a five second forty"…" he's not really 6-4"… "his hands aren't that good"… "Michigan only offered him because his dad is a coach"…
Ann Arbor Huron (WR) Jeremy Jackson has heard all of those comments and then some. He's even received harassing calls that denigrate his skills from fans of one Michigan's rivals. Through it all he has been able to manage a level of mental toughness that few his age could maintain. For him it came down to answering one simple question... would he let his critics beat him, or would he use them as motivation. Jackson chose the latter.
"A lot of people have been doubting me and that's the main reason I went (to the Columbus passing camp). "Because I've got all these doubters I had to prove that I could play. Some people said that I really didn't get offers from Florida, Tennessee and all those big schools… they don't even know why I'm going to Michigan, and stuff like that. I had to go out there and show them that I could play."
Things didn't get off to the desired start Saturday due to the lack familiarity between the players that comprised the team. All of the late additions to the squad (of which Jackson was one) contributed to poor cohesion at the onset.
"I talked to Robert Bolen at the start and we were trying to get familiar with yardage of routes because all of our routes were messed up," Jackson explained. "He was saying that at his high school a comeback is 15 (yards) and at my high school it was 13. Our timing was off because we didn't know how long you were supposed to run everything. The coaches expected us to know it when we got down there, so it was kind of hard at the start."
As the day progressed the quarterbacks and receivers got more and more in sync, and Jackson was one of the primary beneficiaries. His sure-handedness and crisp route running ability were put to good use on chain-moving crossing patterns and quick slants. On the other hand, he wasn't able to utilize the primary strengths of his game; his size and leaping ability. Jackson will never be mistaken for a burner, but he is capable of making big plays in the air. That's something he hopes to do more of in future camps.
"I don't know why they didn't give me a jump ball a couple of times in the goal line," he stated. "I'm going to try and get to another seven-on-seven or one-on-one camp or something like that. I definitely want to get another one of them in. Maybe a couple if I have to, but I just want to keep getting those in. I love competing against other people at these camps and stuff because you get to see all these great players and go against them and see how you compare."
When not measuring himself against his opponents last weekend, Jackson was paying close attention to the performances of his teammates. He came away extremely impressed.
"Who was impressive to me," asked Jackson, "yeah, that would be Dior (Mathis). Everybody was talking about how short he is, and usually when I see a 5'8" corner I say the same thing. That was what threw me off. Everyone was like, ‘I can get him!' But watch Dior play. Not many people beat Dior that day. As a matter of fact, I don't think anyone did, but for one time. He's a real good corner."
"And I didn't know Austin White could play safety like that," he continued. " He was a good safety out there. I hadn't heard about Mylan Hicks. He's also a good corner. He was putting the lock on Kyle Prater for a little bit."
During down time future Wolverine, didn't hesitate to pump the Maize & Blue as much as possible.
"I was the only committed guy and I was up there trying to recruit everybody," Jackson said laughingly. "I didn't even know if they had offers or not (laughing). I don't know if Baquer Sayed has an offer from Michigan, but I was just telling him that he needs to come in and play. I really like Dior and I think we've got a great shot at him. I tried. William Gholston too. I was working on Will trying to get him coming here. I hadn't really met Will before then, so I can't really don't know what he is thinking. Me and Dior… we've talked before and hung out for a little bit. I kind of get a good feeling about (Michigan's chances) with Dior."
Jackson also has a good feeling about a recent bit of news he got from Rich Rodriguez.
"Oh yeah. I will be wearing the #17 at Michigan," Jackson reported. "(Because of Toney Clemons' transfer) I've got my number back that I wore in high school. My dad wore that when he played college and in the pros. That was the number that I wanted to get."