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Desmond Jackson: 2011 Texas Football Recruiting Spotlight


Name: Desmond Jackson

Position: DT

Height: 6'1"

Weight: 278

40 Time: 5.0

High School: Westfield

Rivals Rating: 4*, 5.8

ESPN Recruiting Evalutation ($)

Usually in the movies the kid in school with the glasses gets picked on, but in the case of Jackson who sports goggles offensive linemen may want to keep quiet and try and get on his good side. The defensive tackle is a high energy and active player. He has adequate height and listed bulk, but he is a thickly built and muscular kid and he does not raise size concerns. He may though be close to his limit in the ideal bulk he can add and not have an ideal reach. He looks to mainly play the nose in his high school's 34, though that is not likely his best fit at the college level. He could be a little more consistent in his get-off, but he is a kid that can get penetration and cause disruption. He is solid at the point-of-attack and can take on blocks and hold his ground. Displays the ability to be able to come off the ball with good pad level and get leverage. He is good at bringing his hands and being able to engage and defend his gap. He also does a good job of being able to read blocks and get hands on. Displays the ability to be able to come across the line, stay square, locate the ball, and be able to re-direct and get down the line-of-scrimmage. He has a good motor and is active along the line. He is a solid tackler, but needs to be sure to take good angles and wrap up to maximize his ability to finish. He is capable of creating a pass rush from the interior of the trenches. He will be active with his weapons and use them to try and work past blockers. Jackson can be a disruptive presence who can also battle in the trenches and is a good prospect at the defensive tackle position.


Jackson is a true gap-busting defensive tackle who lives in opposing teams' backfields. He's basically unblockable in a one on one situation which really opens up opportunities for his teammates to make plays.

Desmond's strongest quality is, well, his brute strength. Kid's got a phenomenal, relentless bull rush that leaves offensive linemen flat on their butts and quarterbacks running for their lives. His arms are pure muscle and he uses them like pistons to fire off when the ball's snapped.

Speaking of which, Jackson shows very good get-off at the start of snaps, which allows him to be one step ahead of the play at its inception and really helps him blow offensive linemen off their feet.

Des also has an extremely good rip move that he uses nicely as a complement to his customary bull rush and once he gets into the backfield he shows fantastic speed and agility for a defensive tackle when pursuing the quarterback. His leg explosion off the line of scrimmage not only benefits his two high-level moves, but also gives him excellent momentum to chase in the backfield.

Jackson's shorter stature also gives him good leverage to get under taller offensive linemen.


The biggest knock on Jackson from recruiting services is his limited potential due to his size. He's only 6'1" at the very most, although that can certainly provide a leverage benefit as I said above. It also makes him less of a threat to occupy space and bat down balls. Desmond also has relatively short arms which hurts his bull rush and ability to occupy offensive linemen without getting blown back at the next level.

He's also not a particularly big player for a defensive tackle, so he has a chance to get pushed back by much bigger players in college and could have trouble against double teams.

Would like to see Jackson wrap up with more regularity and urgency, but this will likely be a non-problem once new DTs coach Bo Davis gets his hands on him.

I'd love to see more diversity in Jackson's defensive tackle move set since he won't be a space eater at Texas. A consistent spin move and swim move would make him unstoppable in college. Regardless, he's still very technically impressive for such a young player.

Target Body Type

Listed as high as 285, Jackson's frame is pretty much tapped out right now—another reason he's seemingly underrated by the recruiting services. He just doesn't look like he has much room to add girth so I really can't see him playing at more than 295. It's hard conceiving his being 285 because he just doesn't look that big on film, though it is true that muscle weighs more than fat. Jackson must be pure muscle.

Final Analysis

Unlike a lot of players UT has brought in at DT or moved to DT, Jackson's body is already near his optimal playing weight and composition. This will give him an excellent chance to play early and often despite the large quantity of players ahead of him in seniority, especially if Alex Okafor moves back to DE like I believe he should to improve depth. If none of the defensive tackles step up, much like we saw last year, Desmond has an outside shot at eventually starting as a true freshman next to entrenched star Kheeston Randall if he comes in hungry and in shape over the offseason.

Player Comparison

Warren Sapp


Read past Texas recruiting spotlights