NU commit Justin Jackson source of hope

With 30 touchdowns in eight games, 4-star Glenbard North (Ill.) running back and Northwestern commit Justin Jackson continues to meet the hype. Jackson talks NU struggles, his senior season, and his confidence with Coach Fitzgerald in this PurpleWildcats.com insider update.

Unlike Northwestern football, Justin Jackson has lived up to the hype.

The Glenbard North running back owns incredible numbers eight games into the season. Per Mike Helfgot of the Chicago Tribune, Jackson posted 30 touchdowns and 2,196 yards with his team racing to a 7-1 record.

His next matchup, though, brings an unusual competitor and glimpse of the future. He'll face Wheaton North and fellow NU commit Clayton Thorson—in what should be a memorable game for both. Perhaps, Jackson admits, it could provide the preview for the Wildcats' backfield.

"It's definitely crossed my mind," Jackson said. "Hopefully, in the next few years, that will happen. It could be really dangerous… There's going to be a dynamic duo back there."

Unfortunately for Jackson, he's watched an offense stumble this season. He attended the NU-Minnesota game on Saturday, one in which the ‘Cats failed to establish their running game en route to a disappointing loss. Jackson explained the recent loss by mentioning injuries to Kain Colter and Venric Mark.

"It's just such a hard offense to replace, with that explosive scoring," Jackson said. "They have to battle back. It's tough, but I have all the confidence in the world in Coach Fitzgerald."

Meanwhile, though, he has ample time to appreciate his senior year. With his commitment in order and the playoffs upcoming, Jackson aims to close out his superlative high school career in fitting fashion.

"In my senior year, I've really tried to enjoy every moment, every game," he said. "I'm going to try and have fun, and I'm open for some better moments coming in the playoffs."

The Wildcats, somehow, only mustered an average of 77 rushing yards in their past three games. With Venric Mark and Mike Trumpy out of eligibility, Jackson arrives to a generally unproven backfield.

There's Malin Jones, who struggled to find a concrete role in this offense. There's Stephen Buckley, who did have a solid game–including his first career touchdown–against Minnesota. There's Warren Long and a fairly talented group of true freshmen.

But still, there's opportunity.

"Once I get there, I'm going to compete as hard as I can for a spot," Jackson said. "Right now, I'm just really trying to pick up their tendencies."

Despite the recent dismay surrounding Northwestern football, there's a gleaming positive: Justin Jackson, coming soon to Ryan Field.


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