Two seasons ago, Kyle Jackson made 61 tackles as a redshirt freshman.
Last season, Jackson could only stand and watch. A dislocated joint in his foot kept him on the sidelines for the year.
However, Jackson is back. Working his way up from the third string, Jackson has been running with the first-team group because Brandon Watts has been out with an injury.
In a way, Jackson said he has surprised himself.
“It’s not surprising in the sense that I never thought I could do it, but it’s surprising in the sense of how quickly things are going,” Jackson said. “It was hard. Before I got hurt I was used to running with the ones. One of the biggest things I learned throughout my injury was humility and patience. It took a lot of humility and a lot of patience for me to come back to camp and to see myself low on the depth chart and have to work my way back up.
“The feeling right now, being where I’m at, is indescribable. I feel like I truly earned where I am right now.”
Now a redshirt junior, his return gives the Jackets more experience at middle linebacker. Aside from Brad Jefferson, who is a senior, Watts is a redshirt freshman, and Julian Burnett, who is on the second team, is a sophomore.
And Jackson is making improvements off the field, as well. He and teammate Roddy Jones were recently selected as co-presidents of the Student-Athlete Advisory Board. It serves as the voice of the athletes to the Athletic Association. Perhaps using this as practice for his future political hopes, he wants to improve the relationship that the Athletics Association has with the student body.
“I feel there’s a big disconnect between the two,” Jackson said. “I feel students almost fear athletes, in a sense they are afraid to approach us and it shouldn’t be that way. We want to bring Tech together as a community rather than two different bodies.”