Dennis Fithian: Let's head up to Saginaw, Michigan to say hi to running back, Jerome Jackson. Jerome, how are you doing?
Jerome Jackson: I'm doing pretty good.
DF: Well, we appreciate your time. Thanks for joining us. Congratulations!
JJ: Thank you!
DF: What was today like for you? You and your teammate, LaMarr, had a press conference today and you announced for Michigan. Was it tough waiting here right to the wire?
JJ: Nah. It was tough making the decision and saying no to all the other schools. It was a big deal. We had a press conference and it was my dream come true. I've never went through anything like that. I never thought in a million years I'd be going through that. I mean, I just thank God, I'm truly blessed. You know, I thank God for the opportunity.
DF: Jerome Jackson is with us here on Ticket 1050. Jerome, people are familiar with your brother, Terry, playing football up at Minnesota. How much did he help you out with the recruiting process and tell you what to look for and navigate you through the whole business.
JJ: My brother, Terry was a great help. He had been through the recruiting process already, so he helped me out a lot. He was the one going on the internet and checking the rosters and telling me how many running backs were at this place and how many running backs were at that place. He was very instrumental in getting me to pick the best place for me, so I have to thank him for the whole thing.
DF: Are you a similar type back as him, because if you are, that would be great news for Michigan fans. That guy can – I'm talking about Terry Jackson with Minnesota – shallow cuts, can make people miss and has a burst of speed. I mean, are you cut from the same cloth as your brother?
JJ: Umm…I think so. I'm a similar back, but I run with more power than he does, I'm bigger than he is, I've got a wider frame, so I run with a lot more power than he does. He's more of a finesse back. I'm a finesse back, also, but I've got more power than him. I'm bigger. I'm wider than him. So, I think I bring a little finesse and a power game to the program.
DF: That sounds good! I think power and speed is something everybody is looking for in a back. When you look at running backs, who does Jerome Jackson look at and say, that's the kind of back that I'd like to be?
JJ: I'd have to go back to my boy, Walter Payton. I had this tape of him and I'd always look at this tape before the games and try to pick up pointers from him. He was the all-time great running back, so I try to base my style after his. He can make you miss and he's got the power to run over you. That's who I try to base my style after.
DF: Well, I'll tell you what, you're already making a lot of friends. You break out Sweetness, Walter Payton, people say, I like Jerome Jackson and he likes Walter Payton. Couple more minutes here with Jerome Jackson who announced today, along with his teammate, LaMarr Woodley, that they're both coming to Michigan. And speaking of Saginaw, when you talk about Saginaw, people up there in your school…are they generally Michigan or Michigan State fans when you start talking.
JJ: Everybody, everybody wanted us to go to Michigan State. Everybody thought we were going to go there. We've got a lot of people from our high school that went to Michigan State, you know, I guess that's the hometown favorite to go there. But me and LaMarr, we just thought that, starting right here, we were going to start a new trend and now maybe everybody will want to come to Michigan now that me and him went.
DF: Well, somebody's gotta be the front-runner, right?
DF: Hey, what about…are you familiar with Roy Manning?
JJ: Roy Manning, he's like a big brother to me. He was my brother's best friend and we go to the same church where his dad is the pastor, so I knew Roy all my life and he was a big help with the recruiting process, too.
DF: What did the pastor have to say about your decision?
JJ: (laughs) He was happy! When he preached, he'd be always throwing Michigan in. How he went to the game, how hype the game was, so he's always been campaigning for Michigan the whole way.
DF: Well, a lot of people are saying, bless you Jerome that you came down to play for Michigan.
DF: Hey, we've been talking to a lot of the guys and you can't sit there and talk too much about yourself saying hey I'm going to hit touchdown after touchdown, but what's it like going against LaMarr Woodley? Do you guys line up a lot in practice or first-teamers don't meet up too much?
JJ: The first-teamers don't meet up too much. The first offense doesn't meet up with the first defense, but we meet up a couple of times in drills and he helped me with my blocking and I know that's a very important component of being a running back at the next level is learning how to pick up linebacker blitzes and we worked on that a lot in practice.
DF: Alright, Jerome Jackson, if we get LaMarr on, we're going to say give us a scouting report on Jerome Jackson – what he does when he gets the football in his hands. Now, we're gonna turn the tables and we're gonna give you the first opportunity. Give us the scouting report – what are Michigan fans gonna see when LaMarr Woodley puts on the Maize and Blue next year?
JJ: Aww, pssht! LaMarr, man, he's on another level. I mean, when he played this year – last year, too – he was a grown man playing with kids. When you see him put on that blue and gold, expect a monster because that's what he's going to bring to the table. He's going to come out there and bring his A game every game.
DF: Well, fantastic! We look forward to getting the scouting report on you. I know Michigan fans out there are listening and are looking forward to seeing you with your own eyes coming up next year. Jerome, congratulations on picking Michigan and being a member of the 2003 football signees today.
JJ: Thank you! Thank you!
DF: Take care, Jerome.
JJ: Alright, you too.
Jerome Jackson's Full WTKA Interview Transcript
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