"Riding my bicycle is one of my favorite things to do," MSU sophomore linebacker Kamau Jackson said. "I like being around people and hanging out with everyone, but I like to be by myself too. That is why I like riding my bike. I can be by myself."
Jackson may like being quiet and to himself off the field, but on the field he is a totally different animal, and I mean animal. Last season at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, he posted a state-high 135 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks. Jackson was also the only JUCO player in Mississippi to be named to the all-American team. The amazing thing is that he accomplished all of this on a torn ACL.
"I just want to be in on every play from sideline to sideline," Jackson said. "I set goals for myself before last season to lead the state in tackles, be an all-American and end up at MSU, those goals pushed me through everything."
While he may have achieved all of his goals from last season, ending up at MSU has been a long road.
Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, Jackson watched former Bulldog Greg Favors and formed a growing love for MSU. But because of problems transferring schools his senior year, Jackson had to go through the junior college ranks before coming to MSU.
"I have always looked up to Greg (Favors), and have learned a lot from him," Jackson said. "Since watching him in high school it has been a dream of mine to play for State. When I got here I decided to wear No. 56 since that was Greg's number. It is just an honor to get to do that."
Since being out of high school, Jackson has learned how to control his temper, and has found a desire for service. While at State, he has been with his teammates on visits and when he goes home he speaks to the neighborhood kids.
"I have learned a lot since I have gotten out of high school," Jackson said just after getting off his motorcycle in front of the Bryan Athletic Building. "One of the most important things I have learned is to separate how I act on the field and off the field."
While he has learned a lot off the field, Jackson has learned just as much on the field so far at MSU. With a three-man rotation at middle linebacker, the battle for playing time has been intense, but never heated.
"All three of us know that we can make each other better," Jackson said of teammates Jason Clark and T.J. Mawhinney. "Jason is better in coverage, T.J. is better at plugging the hole and I am the sideline to sideline player. We help each other everyday, but we are still friends."
Jackson has also found another friend to help him while he has been at State. He has taken up with junior all-America Mario Haggan, and the two have become good friends.
"Me and Mario have really gotten tight," Jackson said. "He is a great guy and has really helped me while I have been here. I have learned a lot from him, and I can't say enough about the kind of guy he is."
After the last two loses Jackson has begun to step in as a leader on the field. And when asked what is one thing he would say to the fans?
"I would say, ‘don't give up, keep hope alive and stay in there, everything is going to be all right.'"
With people like Kamau as a Bulldog, you can bet everything will be alright.
Grant Alford is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. He is a student at Mississippi State University. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.