Everything Has Changed, But It Hasn't

It's been just under two months since Bennett Jackson committed to Notre Dame and the standout wide receiver from Raritan High School (Hazlet, N.J.) is as happy as ever that he made his college decision prior to his senior season.

You won't find a more grounded high school football star than Bennett Jackson (6-foot-1, 170-pound). Despite all the recruiting attention he received, he never thought of himself any different than his friends and teammates and he still doesn't.

"Things are going pretty good," Jackson replied when asked about his newfound fame as a Notre Dame commitment. "I guess now a lot more people know me. It hasn't really changed too much for me though. Some little kids in Pop Warner or the younger players will say, ‘Hey, that's Bennett Jackson.', but I try to keep pretty level headed, because I don't want to mess anything up.

"Pretty much all my friends are Notre Dame fans. They always bust my chops about it, and some kids say that we're going to get schooled by USC, this team or that team, but they're just joking around.

"I'm happy I committed early," he said. "I'm still in high school and I want to focus on my senior season. I think I made a good choice and I'm happy with my decision."

After hauling in 35 passes for 806 yards and four touchdowns his junior season, there is reason to believe that Jackson is poised to have a monster senior year.

"I just got back from my team football camp," Jackson explained. "We're just doing lifting and our running program until our practice starts up in a week. I'm going to try to work on my stalk-blocking. That's probably one of my weaker points, so I'll work on that. I've gotten a lot stronger and more physical so that will probably help me out a lot more. I probably have to work on my shorter routes, getting off the jam and getting off the line. My strength is definitely I'm good in open space and I get open really easily.

"I think we're going to have a really good year this year. We should be all set on the line and we have a really good running back. I think we're going to go to state. I'm confident about that as long as we keep working at it."

And working hard is what Jackson is all about. He knows he'll get his chances on the offensive side of the ball, but he'd really like a chance to make an impact on defense as well.

"I'm going to try. I always try, but my coach isn't really a fan of guys playing both ways. In camp, I've been working at cornerback, so I'm going to try to get into the rotation if he allows me to. I think playing corner helps me out a lot. It helps me when corners jam me because I know which way they're forcing me and which way they want me to go. It's definitely a bonus to go both ways."

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories