High School Sports

George County 14-year-old lands ULL football offer

PHOTO PROVIDED BY MCKINNLEY JACKSON 
 George County freshman McKinnley Jackson received a scholarship offer from Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY MCKINNLEY JACKSON George County freshman McKinnley Jackson received a scholarship offer from Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday.

He's only 14 years old and has yet to play a down of high school football, but that didn't prevent McKinnley Jackson from receiving a scholarship offer from an FBS program on Wednesday.

The George County High School freshman picked up the offer from Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth during a football camp at Greyhound Stadium in Ocean Springs.

Jackson said he hit the field at the camp going "110 percent" with hopes of earning an offer, but he was surprised when Hudspeth pulled him aside and talked to him.

"It's really a blessing," Jackson said. "He said he'd like to offer me, but he wanted me to think about it. He said, 'You've got many years left and don't stress over it.'

"He was a very nice guy. I would like to play for him one day."

Hudspeth watched as the 6-foot-1, 272-pound Jackson nimbly worked his way through drills Wednesday morning and came away impressed.

"He's a big, athletic kid for 14 years old, " George County coach Matt Caldwell said. "I guess coach Hud liked what he saw out of him."

Caldwell, who is entering his first season at George County, admitted that an offer on the spot for a kid that young was an unusual event.

"It's the first time I've seen that in 20 years of coaching," the former Taylorsville and North Forrest coach said.

Jackson is set to play along the defensive line for the Rebels this season.

"He's physically mature for his age," Caldwell said. "The first time we got our hands on him was this spring. He's got a good attitude. He's a good, hard working kid.

"He's still got a long way to go technique-wise. He's still learning the game and all those things. As hard as he works, he's going to be fine."

His trainer, former Southern Miss cornerback C.J. Bailey, broke the news on Twitter and Jackson said he received well over 100 phone calls from friends and family congratulating him.

Jackson comes from a family that includes plenty of football talent. His uncle and father both played high school football. His cousin, Tristan Jackson, played college football at Central Arkansas and played for three seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos.

"It's an athletic family," McKinnley Jackson said. "Just not football, all sports -- basketball, track, softball."

While the 14-year-old has a bright future ahead in football, he seems grounded as he heads into his first year of high school.

"Football is plan B. Academics is plan A," he said. "Football has been a dream since day one. In order to play football, I've got to have good academics."

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