Back Milton Jackson: “Cut From a Different Cloth”

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Milton Jackson: “Cut From a Different Cloth”

By Barry Every
SouthernPigskin.com
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The 5-foot-11, 185-pound wideout has already caught a whopping 140 passes for 1,773 yards and nine touchdowns in his varsity career.

Region 1-AAAAAA, aka “The Region of Doom”, has been the pinnacle of dominance in the Peach State over the last two seasons. Valdosta (Ga.) took home the State Title in 2016 while Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County reigned supreme in 2017.

One other school experiencing unprecedented success in “The Region of Doom”, during this same time period, has been Douglas (Ga.) Coffee. Coach Robby Pruitt led the Trojans to the GHSA-AAAAAA State Title Game this past season and the State Quarterfinals the previous year.

Rising senior receiver Milton Jackson has played a major role in the Trojans recent success. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound wideout has already caught a whopping 140 passes for 1,773 yards and nine touchdowns in his varsity career. The quintessential shifty slot receiver may be the most prolific senior pass catcher in Georgia. As a freshman Jackson broke into the varsity lineup as a Wing-T running back, carrying the ball 18 times for 114 yards and one touchdown.

“We made a switch from the Wing-T to the spread and I really just wanted to play,” Jackson said. “The coaches realized I had soft hands, quick feet and excellent change of direction so I made the switch to receiver. They just wanted to find ways to get me the ball in order to take advantage of my skill set.”

Jackson currently has offers from Appalachian State, Cincinnati, Georgia Southern, Kansas State, Mercer, Mississippi State and Western Kentucky. He is also receiving strong interest from Central Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. One school he would like to hear more from is the reigning National Champions - Alabama.

“He is a really, really good player with a skill set that includes excellent hands, fearlessness and more importantly unselfishness especially as a blocker,” Pruitt said. “On a character scale of one to ten this kid is a ten. He is a leader, dependable and just great teammate. Whoever signs this guy is getting an incredible slot receiver that is strong as an ox.”

Last spring Jackson attended camps at Georgia Tech. Georgia Southern, Mercer and South Carolina. He was invited on unofficial visits this past fall by Cincinnati, Kentucky, Mississippi State and South Carolina but unable to attend because of the Trojans run to the State Championship.

Right now he has three camp dates set with the hopes of garnering offers. Jackson will be at Georgia June, 2 and Central Florida June, 15. He will then head north to South Bend, Indiana on June, 23.

“He gives 110% on every practice rep and we never have to get on him about effort, heck sometimes we have to slow him down in fear he may burn out,” Pruitt said. “He is the second player in my 35-years coaching that has been like this, the other was former Florida Gator and first round draft pick Gerard Warren.”

Academically Jackson sports an 82.7 overall average and has scored a 920 on the SAT. He is currently awaiting the results of the most recent ACT. In the weight room he is pound-for-pound one of the strongest players on the team with a 280-pound bench press, 400-pound squat and a 300-pound power clean.

For Jackson getting the opportunity to play college football is more than being in the limelight, it’s about getting an education while becoming a success in life.

“I’d see all these great players that I looked up to here in Douglas, Georgia, that had the ability to play college football, end up back home doing nothing,” Jackson said. “I understand the struggles that everyone goes through; I know what it’s like not to be able to pay bills. My mother works 12-hours a day and on the night shift just to make ends meet; sometimes I only see her just before I go to bed.”

Jackson’s mother has laid the foundation of doing things the right way in life. That means giving your all not only on the playing field, but in the classroom. This is easier said than done and Jackson has embraced her words of wisdom.

“My mom wants me to be better off than she is, not just for me but my future children,” Jackson said. “She pushes me every day and teaches me how to be a better man. One time she was so furious with me tears poured from her eyes, which really hit home. I realized right then I had to do better in order to be a better man.”

Jackson’s mother is not the lone cornerstone to changing lives. As Coach Pruitt and the Douglas (Ga.) Coffee School System has taken on the burden of changing lives and opening doors to a brighter future.

“We have a character development program here for our players,” Pruitt said. “Every morning we have devotion, feed the athletes and educate them on what it takes to be successful in life. I truly believe it is making a difference in their lives.”

The Trojans could be going through some growing pains on the gridiron this fall. They incur major losses with two-way standout Jameon Gaskin (Valdosta State), sackmaster Derick Newton (Kansas State), two-sport star Dalrone Donaldson and of course the Jefferson twins, Jarquavious and Marquavius gone to graduation.

Never underestimate a Robby Pruitt coached team regardless the personnel losses. He will get most out of his players.  So don’t expect Jackson to simply line up in the slot this fall. You may see him in the backfield at running back or even in the Wildcat formation.

Jackson will have to be the guiding light for his younger teammates in order for the Trojans to continue their gridiron success. They will need to learn from his experience, leadership and most importantly his character - on and off the field. Jackson is simply cut from a different cloth; others should want to emulate his actions.