Following a year at Blinn College, defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson arrived at Ohio State this winter with a broken foot he suffered last season.
Jackson initially thought it was just a sprain, but when the doctors got a look at it, the real damage had been determined. Surgery was performed and Jackson spent most of his winter on crutches.
The prognosis following surgery was that he could possibly be ready to go by the end of spring ball. After spending most of his spring practices jogging around the field or riding a stationary bike, he was finally able to get into some real action towards the end of camp.
In fact, defensive line coach Larry Johnson even let Jackson play in the spring game.
“Played about 23 plays in the spring game,” Johnson said. “We tried to push him a little bit and get him going, knowing that he is not quite ready. By the time we get into fall, he will be ready to roll.”
Johnson and the rest of the defensive staff wanted to reward Jackson for his work in the spring, and because they could see that he wanted to get out there.
“He is dying to play,” Johnson said.
A Second Chance for Antwuan Jackson
Jackson’s path to Ohio State actually started at Auburn. Pretty soon after his arrival, he realized he wasn’t where he wanted to be, and it likely showed in his play. He redshirted as a true freshman and following that season he decided to transfer.
Rather than sit out a season of football, he transferred to Blinn, a junior college in Texas that also sent cornerback Kendall Sheffield to Ohio State.
Jackson was named a First-Team Junior College All-American. He finished second on the team with 70 tackles, first with 9.0 sacks, and third with 10 tackles for loss.
Now he’s finally a Buckeye and appreciative of the opportunity that Larry Johnson and Urban Meyer have given him.
“They basically gave me a second chance at life to play the sport I really want to play,” he said. “So they just came out of their heart and just believed in me. They gave me a second chance to come here, so I just can’t thank them enough for that.”
If Jackson is as appreciative as he says, Meyer and Johnson would gladly accept outstanding play as thanks enough.
As to where he’ll end up on the defensive line, he can play both spots on the interior.
“He can play nose and he can pay the 3-technique,” Johnson said. “He has got good pass-rush skills for a big guy and that is what we kind of want. It will be interesting to see how he comes out in fall.”
Antwuan Jackson wants to show his coaches that they weren’t wrong to recruit him a second time, and with his overall skill set, nobody on the Ohio State football staff is expecting to be disappointed for their efforts.