Another Jackson to PITT?

Pitt has a long history of football greatness. Nine national championships is certainly a powerful testament to the storied past of Panther football. Another tribute to the program is the long line of great players that have played not only at the University of Pittsburgh but in the NFL. Recently was able to speak with the son of one of Pitt's greatest legends, who himself is becoming a top recruit from the fertile recruiting grounds of Florida.

Rickey Jackson is not only one of the most fearsome players to ever don the blue and gold, he is also a former six time NFL pro bowl linebacker for the New Orleans Saints as well. His son Rashad Jackson (5-foot-9 inches, 165 pounds), from Glades Central High School in Florida is starting to make some noise himself as a prized recruit for the class of 2007.

Jackson lists Pitt, Boston College, Wisconsin, and South Florida as his favorites. Arizona State has already offered. And although Rashad's dad came to Pitt all the way from Florida as well, it didn't seem fair to just assume Rashad would automatically want to be a Panther himself.

Or is it?

"I want to go to Pitt. I want to follow in my dad's footsteps."

Jackson told his dad still talks to current Head Coach Dave Wannstedt from time to time. When it comes to where his dad wants him to go, it's pretty clear cut as well.

"He wants me to go to Pitt," said Jackson.

Like his father, Rashad brings some considerable skill and assets with him whenever he steps onto the football field. Jackson has played varsity football for Glades Central all three years. Last year, as a first time full starter he had 4 interceptions (with a fifth called back due to a roughing the passer penalty) 6 sacks and 50 tackles. Jackson offered this insight into what makes him an impact player.

"I'm very quick off the ball, a ball hog. I get to the quarterback and I'm also a good jammer."

When asked if there was anyone besides his father who has had an impact on him, Jackson recalled a former teammate.

"I played with Randy Phillips in tenth grade, he plays for the Miami Hurricanes now," said Jackson. "He taught me a lot"

Being from Florida, Jackson did not seem deterred at all about the famously bitter weather associated with the Steel City. If anything, Jackson seemed eager about the opportunity to play in a slightly colder environment.

"Its great, I want to get away from the heat."

Jackson is planning to visit the University of Pittsburgh this summer. He was asked if his dad was planning to join him.

"I don't know if he is going with me," Jackson replied. "But I want him too."

Jackson said his dad does go back to New Orleans ever from time to time and that he was back in the Crescent City recently to sign autographs in an effort to help people suffering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Depending on how things turn out, it's possible another Jackson from the Sunshine State might be roaming in Pitt's defense again sometime soon.

Steve Gephart can be reached at

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