Buddy Jackson a proud Panther

University of Pittsburgh Head Football Coach Dave Wannstedt has preached about improving the Panthers team speed. When sleeper Floridian Buddy Jackson from Cypress Bay High School in Weston, FL clocked a 4.3 forty-yard dash at the Dave Wannstedt summer football camp, Pitt's coaching staff wasted little time offering him a scholarship. Jackson spoke with PantherDigest about his future.

Prior to the summer months, cornerback Anthony "Buddy" Jackson received a tremendous amount of mail from colleges throughout the country. One of the first summer camp invitations happen to come from the University of Pittsburgh. Interested in taking a further look at the Panther program, he opted to attend the Dave Wannstedt summer football camp with several of his teammates. His decision proved to be a wise one.

"I was amazed by the facilities when we got to Pittsburgh. They were state of the art. I had been to Miami (FL) and Central Florida and they couldn't touch what the Panthers had to offer," stated Buddy Jackson (6-foot-1 inches, 165 pounds).

"I went to Pitt with the attitude that I was going to perform well. I wanted to show the coaching staff I was a lock down corner," he said. "I ran a fast forty-yard dash and I did well during one-on-one drills. I could tell the staff was starting to take notice."

Jackson caught the attention of the coaching staff when ran the forty-yard dash in 4.31 seconds. He registered a broad jump of 10 feet, 11 inches shortly after.

"At the end of camp, they sat me down and offered me a scholarship. I was blown away and very excited. I wanted to commit on the spot but I knew I needed to talk with my family first. They knew it was too good an offer to refuse."

Buddy was asked about his strengths and he stated, "Pitt fans can expect me to be a lock down cornerback. I love the game of football. I'm intense and I play the game with a lot of passion. I give 100% on every play."

Jackson has a thin frame and currently weighs 165 pounds. He was asked if his lack of bulk is a detriment on the football field. "I'm closer to 170 pounds and I have room to grow," he said. "I'm spending a lot of time in the weight room. Trust me, I may weigh 165 pounds but I'm physical. I can jack up a defensive back like a heavier player. I never leave the weight room without doing 200 pushups, pull-ups and crunches."

Cypress Bay High School plays in Florida's 6A classification. Class 6A happens to be the largest classification in the state.

Jackson was quick to note several other reasons for choosing the Panthers. "Coach (Charlie) Partridge had a lot to do with my decision. He came down to one of our spring practices and we hit it off. I felt very comfortable with him," he said. "My father met him as well and liked him right from the start."

"I hadn't met Coach (Paul) Rhodes until I got to camp. It's going to be great playing for him. He's going to make me a better player. We spent some time together at camp and he taught me a lot of technique."

Jackson assured the PantherDigest.com that he was fully committed to Pitt and had no intentions of talking with other schools. He's highly excited about the future and has set some lofty goals. "I want to win a national championship," he said. "I don't think that's out of reach. I want to win a national championship and a Big East championship. Hopefully I can improve my play and eventually be considered for the NFL draft."

"I went to Heinz Field and they had us walk through the tunnel. I still get chills thinking about it. I can't imagine what it would be like filled with fans. I'm excited to be a Panther and I can't wait to get there and contribute."

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at harrypsaros@msn.com.

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