The Reaction: Jackson another gem

With another pair of diversely talented running backs, the future of the Northwestern backfield is in excellent shape.

For Northwestern football, some of the best things come in pairs. Under center, the speed of Kain Colter complements the arm of Trevor Siemian. In the backfield, the quickness of Venric Mark is followed up by the power of Mike Trumpy.

On Tuesday, the Wildcat faithful welcomed a new dynamic duo to mix. You've already become acquainted with Auston Anderson, the three-star speedster who weaves and squirms through opposing defenses much in the way of Mark.

Now, it's time to meet Justin Jackson.

The four-star power back–who chose Northwestern over Iowa and Vanderbilt–brings the perfect complement to Anderson's incredible quickness. Jackson powers past and jukes his way around defenders, using the strength that he worked with as a defensive back and the agility from his days as wide receiver to move the ball down the field.

Even so, he's less of a straight up-and-down runner than Trumpy and can use more of the field in a similar style to South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore.

That's not to say that Jackson, who is slightly smaller than Lattimore, will see the same success. However, Northwestern's newest pledge brings a lot to the table—and it pairs perfectly with what's already there.

Northwestern is most successful when it can keep the other team on its toes and occasionally go against what's expected. We saw this in the latter half of the season once Pat Fitzgerald and company hammered out the imperfection in the dual quarterback system. This culminated in a rushing touchdown from Siemian in the Gator Bowl. We also witnessed this with the balance struck between Mark and Trumpy.

With Jackson and Anderson alone, fans can look forward to a similar situation with a high ceiling. Jackson can batter and bruise opponents. Anderson won't even give them a chance to bring them down. This isn't even mentioning Godwin Igwebuike, another exceptional long-term option: This 2014 class is special in itself.

Add Matt Alviti and/or Clayton Thorson under center–two dual-threat quarterbacks–and wrap it all up with the pages of the Northwestern playbook. Then, you have an offense that teams may struggle to keep up with, let alone stop.

Only time will tell if this potentially terrific twosome can live up to its expectations. If Jackson and Anderson strike that perfect balance, the pair might just be too much for the Big Ten to handle.


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