October 31, 2011

Jackson Persevering

Current Houston Cougars commit Gregory Jackson has had a difficult senior season for his Aldine (Texas) Eisenhower Eagles. The season started on a high note when Eisenhower defeated Fort Bend Hightower. Jackson dislocated his shoulder late in the game but managed to return and finished the game strong, helping lead his team to a 42-41 victory, leaving him very optimistic for the rest of his senior season.

But things would take a turn for the worse for Jackson, just three weeks into the season the talented defensive end would suffer a serious knee injury, tearing both his ACL and MCL in a devastating 27-21 loss to Beaumont Westbrook.

"Before the injury I was playing good," said Jackson. "I went in on a pass rush and the guard from the other side pulled and he chop blocked me and I felt my knee pop twice. It hurt, but I got back up and walked it off, I got back in again on another pass rush and my knee popped again and I was thinking man, I should let doc check it out. Doc checked me out, I walked on it and ran on it and it didn't hurt anymore, so I was like okay, I feel better it doesn't hurt anymore. I went back in and as soon as I was about to tackle the quarterback my knee gave out on me and had to take myself out."

The official diagnosis was a torn ACL and a torn MCL, ending Jackson's senior season, forcing him to be a spectator from the sidelines rather than on the field with his teammates.

"It's extremely hard, especially since it's my senior year and my last year of high school," the 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end said. "It really gets to me hard, but I know there is a reason for everything and I'm pretty sure there's a reason why God allowed this to happen and I can live with it."

Since the Injury Jackson has been working hard on rehab so he can slowly get back to playing shape by the time he hits the field next season as a Cougar.

"During rehab they've had me doing a lot of bending and stretching trying to get my muscles to wake up," the talented defender said. "I've been walking over hurdles, sideways and forward, walking up some little steps, I can actually bend my knee 125-degrees now, I've got five more degrees until I can start running, so I can walk without crutches now, so I'm walking a lot more but I can't run yet. But I'm still lifting weights for my upper body, trying to stay strong up there."

Jackson has been in constant contact with the coaching staff since the injury and is looking forward to his future as a Cougar.

"They've talked to me a lot since my Injury," Jackson stated. "Coach McKinney actually came up to my school for our homecoming game, he told me to continue working hard, stay strong, continue to rehab it, stay on my grades and he'd welcome me with open arms when I get up there next year."

The fact that the Cougars are sticking with him and staying by his side through this trying process is not something that gets lost with Jackson.

"I'm very happy and very grateful to the University of Houston," he said in regards to the Cougars honoring his scholarship offer. "I'm very happy for the Cougars and all the success they have going on right now, I tell coach McKinney every time we get a chance to talk and I support them 100-percent."

The Eagles are continuing to fight on without one of their better defenders, they now sit at 4-5 (3-2) and with a win next week could still make the playoffs.

"The offense is practicing hard and getting better, the defense is staying strong and they're doing really good," Jackson said. "Making the playoffs would be very exciting and I would be there for my teammates 100-percent, It'll be kind of sad not being able to play, but I would still be excited for my teammates."

The Eisenhower Eagles will hit the road to take on the 1-8 (1-4) Alief Hastings Fighting Bears on Friday, Nov. 4 at Crump Stadium. A win and the Eagles will likely find themselves in the Texas State Playoffs, a loss and their season could be over.

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