Leesburg, VA (July 22, 2016) – Loudoun County High School graduate John Jackson IV will play football for West Virginia State University beginning the 2016/2017 academic school year.
“Growing up, I always wanted to play college football, said Jackson, and was thrilled that WVSU gave me the opportunity to play the game I love at the next level. It felt amazing to commit to them and it lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders.”
West Virginia State University is a historically black university which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution. The University, located in Institute, West Virginia – a suburb of Charleston, the largest city and capital of West Virginia, is a ‘living laboratory’ of human relations.” It is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
“My recruiting experience was great. I had a lot of fun talking to all the schools and thinking about what I desired and where I wanted to be. Visiting different schools and showing all the coaches my athletic ability was a nice experience. I’m glad that I had the opportunity experience to it. The respectful way that the WVSU recruiting coach approached me, and the positive experience I had when I visited the campus are what won me over and made it easy to commit to them.”
Jackson’ head football coach will be Jon Anderson. Jon Anderson enters his third season at the helm of the Yellow Jacket football program. Coach Anderson came to Institute from the University of Sioux Falls where he spent 11 years, including three as the Cougars’ defensive coordinator. He brought with him a winning attitude and drive to build the WVSU program to a championship level, which has created a new level of excitement on campus. During his first season, the Yellow Jacket defense led the Mountain East Conference and finished 11th nationally in interceptions. A pair of WVSU defenders tied for eighth nationally in picks as well.
“I expect my first year will be challenging, shared Jackson, but my plan is to work hard towards my goal of becoming a starter. There are sure to be days when I’m not at my best, but I will never give up. I have too much passion and love for the game of football to do otherwise.”
Jackson has played football since age five, although didn’t start full contact until age 7. At that time, his parents had to sign a waiver to allow him to play tackle with 8 and 9 year olds. Despite the promise of a senior campaign to further highlight his talent and excel on the gridiron, Jackson’s final season was cut short due to injury. That injury limited his play to only 4 games, although he still made great enough of an impact to be selected as an All-Conference 21 defensive back.
When asked about some of his fondest gridiron memories since committing to the sport, Jackson shared, “I’ll always remember the offseason workouts with my teammates. During those workouts, we pushed each other to become better, and it was good to see how strong we had evolved as players and as a team before the season started. In my opinion, we had one the best in-house strength and conditioning programs in the county. I for one saw incredible gains.”
“Also, there are a select few games that I will never forget, but the most memorable one was winning the ‘Battle of Leesburg’ trophy my senior year in the rivalry game against Heritage. Heritage won that game two years in a row and were headed to the playoffs. We knew we would not make the playoffs, but wanted to end the season strong. It was a special game, we came from behind to win 43-41 in an upset.”
“I’m thankful for my dad who has been my coach every single year since I started at 5 years old through my senior year in high school. He taught me almost everything I know about the sport. And I’m thankful for my mother, who has never missed a game unless she really couldn’t be there for some odd reason.”
When asked what advice he’d share with others pursuing their dreams, John shared, “Regardless of how hard things get, inside or out of football, the game will always be there as long as you want it. Never give up on it regardless of the obstacles, whether it be injuries, illness or grades. Always push yourself, if you want it bad enough you can excel at it regardless of the situation.”
Please join us in wishing John Jackson IV the very best in his success on the gridiron, and in the classroom as he pursues a degree in Sports Management from West Virginia State University.
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