Zo's gearing up for summer camp

Alonzo Jackson, the Pittsburgh Steelers' second round draft pick out of Florida State, is your typical rookie. Instead of taking a break from the grueling summer heat, he's spending a lot of time preparing for the start of training camp, which begins in late July.

For the last few days The Territory.org has spotted the 6-foot-4 and 250 pound linebacker working out with his former college teammates in 90 degree plus temperatures. Anyone who knows the playful Jackson knows that he's a competitor. Not only was he participating, but also he was leading the pack in the hour-long session of agility drills and sprints designed to improve the team's speed and quickness.

When the drills were over, most of the players fled for cooler temperatures. Not Jackson, instead he took a place in the 7-on-7 skeleton drills - not only on defense but on offense also. On one particular offensive play, the Americus (Ga.) native raced past the secondary and hauled in the pass for a score. All day long, he was displaying his athletic ability across the field.

Jackson, who had a sub-par junior season, turned it up a notch for the Seminoles in his senior season. He increased his sack total from five as a junior to a team-high 13 for 79 yards. He also recorded 18.5 tackles for a loss and returned an interception for 48 yards in the opener against Iowa State. What makes his senior season ever more impressive was that he did a lot of his damage while being double-teamed. The defensive end that played opposite of him at Florida State was a sub-par pass-rusher who rarely saw double teams. Last year in the Orange Bowl, Jackson gave the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes all they could handle. Zo, as his teammates call him, put quarterback Ken Dorsey on his backside more than any other player ever has.

Alonzo Jackson was the Seminoles' spiritual and vocal team leader. Sometimes he let his emotions get the best of him. After a disappointing team loss to Notre Dame at home, Jackson became enraged about the lack of heart his teammates displayed after the disappointing loss. He got so angry that he had to be removed from the locker room.

With all of Jackson's heart, fire, emotion, determination, and talent, it's easy to see why the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him so high in the draft. Recently, Zo Jackson's father passed away from cancer. He's looking down with a smile on his face while his son sports the Black and Gold.

Dave Peters

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