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Texas announces hire of Jacksonville Jaguars WR coach Chris Jackson

Steve Sarkisian has found his replacement for Brennan Marion.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receivers coach Chris Jackson is leaving Florida to accept the same position with the Texas Longhorns, according to multiple reports on Tuesday.

The school confirmed the news on Tuesday evening with Jackson also holding the title of passing game coordinator.

“We’re fired up that Chris Jackson is a Longhorn,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “He’s such a talented coach with a ton of football and life experience that we’ll benefit from having on our staff. Chris is a passionate and attention-to-detail guy who took a unique path to coaching, but is as good as they get when it comes to developing and preparing receivers. He’s a very well-respected coach with great work ethic who is a student of the game, and he’s a proven leader who not only helps his players improve on the field, but also builds strong relationships with them, too. During his time in the NFL, he’s worked with some exceptional coaches who have all quickly recognized his talent in the profession. Not only has he coached players at the highest level the past five years in the NFL, he knows the position well having been an NFL veteran, All-Pac-10 and 1,000-yard receiver himself. He played at Washington State with Jeff Banks, so he’s a guy we’re very familiar with and know he’ll be a tremendous addition to our staff. We’re excited to get him started.”

The news comes more than two weeks after former Texas wide receivers coach Brennan Marion was officially announced as the offensive coordinator at UNLV and eight days after Jackson seemingly denied reports linking him to the Longhorns.

But that was when Jacksonville was still in the playoffs and following their elimination by the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, Jackson was free to begin finalizing his agreement to join Sarkisian’s staff.

Jackson’s tie to the program is that he played with tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Banks at Washington State in 1996 and 1997, including for the Rose Bowl run led by Ryan Leaf in the latter season.

“My major thought in this move was originally just young men,” Jackson said. “The excitement and opportunity to coach at the college level at a school with the notoriety that Texas has is a great opportunity. Working with young men coming in from 17 to 18 years old to leaving at 22 and providing a platform for them and allowing them to grow, not only as football players but as young men, that’s what I was drawn to, as well. I’ve always been passionate about that, and I’ve been able to do that at NFL level, but there’s something that’s super intriguing about those young men, ones I can hopefully inspire and lead through the position I just left. Some of them will want to pursue a professional career and just need some of that guidance and leadership to get there, and I’ve seen that not only as a player, but as a coach now. That’s the work for me — young men and development.

“Coach Sarkisian has always been phenomenal and a mastermind of offense. Being a wide receiver myself, I’m looking to really just lock all the way into his thought processes for why he does things and how he does things, so I can just be an extension of him. He’s had success not only at the college level, but also in the NFL, so I just want to embrace all of it and add whatever I can in regards to my experience and thought process. But to me, it was a no-brainer to come to Texas and work under the leadership of Sark and with his great staff. He’s done it at the collegiate level and the NFL level, and I know he’s turning the culture there. I just want to be a part of that.”

After a long professional career primarily in the Arena Football League that included 13,355 receiving yards and 325 touchdowns, Jackson coached wide receivers at a high school in Arizona before landing a job in 2019 as a defensive assistant with the Chicago Bears. Jackson previously spent time with the Bears during training camp in 2018 thanks to the NFL’s Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship program.

Jackson moved to a role as an assistant wide receivers coach in Chicago for two seasons before Doug Pederson hired him in Jacksonville last year for what turned out to be a successful season for wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones:

In his one season with the Jaguars, Jackson guided the wide receivers unit to becoming one of only three in the NFL to have two players with 80-plus receptions in 2022 in Christian Kirk (84) and Zay Jones (82). Both totals were in the top 10 in Jacksonville single-season history with Kirk’s ranking eighth, and Jones’s tied for 10th. Kirk also achieved his first 1,000-yard receiving season with 1,108 to rank 14th in the league to go along with eight touchdowns, which tied for fifth in Jaguars’ history. Meanwhile, Jones registered 823 receiving yards and five touchdowns, and Marvin Jones, Jr., added 46 receptions for 529 yards and three touchdowns.

So while Jackson doesn’t have any experience in college football, particularly as a recruiter, he is a Mater Dei alum, providing a tie to the talent-laden California program, and his quick rise in the NFL ranks suggests the capability to quickly adjust to his new role on the Forty Acres.

“I know Texas is football,” Jackson added. “That’s what I do know, and that’s coming from a California kid. I knew people back in the day never left Texas, especially if you were one of the top players in Texas, that’s where you went. I want to play a role in helping Coach Sark and the staff continue to get back to that aspect, where Texas is the only place these Texas kids want to go. Austin is an awesome city. My oldest son went to St. Edwards for two years, so I got an opportunity to get him situated there and look around. I’m very much drawn to the city, the lake, and downtown is beautiful. I’m just excited to be a part of that and helping to continue to grow the tradition of Texas.”