Jackson Returns Home A Hero

Former USC defensive end Lawrence Jackson has made a big difference on the football field and now is looking to make an impact in the community as well. Jackson returned to Inglewood High School last Friday for ‘Lawrence Jackson Day.' The big defensive end got his jersey retired and took the opportunity to stress the importance of getting an education.

Friday, June 6th, 2008 was officially ‘Lawrence Jackson Day' at Inglewood High School. Hundreds of students, faculty and friends filled the school's auditorium to celebrate the many accomplishments of one of their most famous and successful former students, Lawrence Jackson.

"It feels good, I didn't think it would be this big of a deal but they made it really nice," Jackson said with a big smile. "Just to be recognized in that fashion and to know that I have achieved something is real special."

The entire 2008 Inglewood football team was on hand to watch their role model, Lawrence Jackson, gets his No.18 jersey retired. Jackson, was a dominant defensive end at Inglewood and recorded 57 sacks in his stellar career as a Sentinel.

Lawrence Jackson addresses the Inglewood students.
"He was fantastic," said former Inglewood Head Coach Kevin Moore. "I have coached over fifty players to Division 1 football and Lawrence is by far the best player that I have ever coached.

"It's very rare that the best player on the team is also the hardest working guy on the team. He was never about himself, he was all about the team and the guys. It wasn't like a team, it was more like a family and he was instrumental in that."

Always mindful of the community, Jackson made sure that the ceremony wasn't just all about receiving praise. In a powerful and moving speech to the Inglewood student body, he stressed the importance of staying focused on their goals and getting a college education.

"When you are in high school and your parents don't necessarily have a lot of money it is hard to see the real way to make things better for your family," Jackson said.

"Outside of this bubble, there is so much money to be made by going to college and so many different opportunities. I think seeing somebody who has done it and is on the same level as them, I think it opens their ears a little bit more."

Jackson also spoke of the important role that his family, mentors and friends played in the journey that has taken him from Inglewood to USC and now the NFL.

"It has been a long journey with some ups and some downs," Jackson said of his life. "I could have gone a lot of different ways but with the guidance and examples before me, I made some good decisions. I'm excited that I made it through."

One of the themes of Jackson's speech to the students was to always stay positive and compete at everything you do, a lesson that he learned while playing for Pete Carroll at USC.

"It's all about a positive attitude. It's how you look at it that determines the outcome," Jackson said. "If it's raining, are you going to look at it as an obstacle or a challenge. If you look at it the right way, you can tackle anything. I think that is the biggest thing that I carry over from him (Pete Carroll)."

Jackson has always been community-oriented, so it was no surprise to his former teachers and coaches that he was already started giving back just months after being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the first-round of the NFL Draft.

"It's fantastic because six seven years ago we were all in the weight room and those are the things that we used to talk about," Kevin Moore said. "He is showing the students of Inglewood High School that they can make it because he was one of them. The dream is alive and well."

June 6th was officially 'Lawrence Jackson Day' at Inglewood High School.

Jackson speaks to the Inglewood student body.

Jackson enjoys a laugh with his mother.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden
at kevin@scplaybook.com

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