Is DL Joe Jackson Forgotten Man on Miami Hurricanes Defense?

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 28: Courtel Jenkins
ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 28: Courtel Jenkins /

Defensive end Joe Jackson led the Miami Hurricanes in sacks last season backing up Trent Harris and Chad Thomas. With multiple Hurricanes named to preseason Award Watch Lists Jackson was left off all of them.

Jackson was a part of a high achieving Miami Hurricanes 2016 Freshman class. Wide receiver Ahmmon Richards and linebackers Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney were all Freshmen All-Americans in 2016. Zach McCloud started with Quarterman and Pinckney at linebacker.

Jackson, the three linebackers and cornerback Malek Young gave Miami at times five true freshman on the field defensively. Young had 22 tackles and an interception. He picked off two passes during spring scrimmages.

Jackson is listed as first on the depth chart at the viper position ahead of Harris. Jackson was productive in his first collegiate season. He lead Miami with 7.5 sacks, was second with 10.5 tackles for loss and added 32 tackles.

Jackson earned playing time with his play on the field and his talent. He was also fortunate with attrition around him. Al-Quadin Muhammad was a 2015 starter who was dismissed before the start of the 2016 season. Scott Patchan was a key reserve missed the season with an injury.

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Later on in the season Jackson was moved into the starting lineup when Thomas missed a game with an injury. His teammates describe him as having a gladiator body.

Despite his production, last season Jackson did not pick up the early season accolades that his teammates have. Thomas, Quarterman, Kendrick Norton and second stringer Demetrius Jackson are all Miami Hurricanes Defensive Linemen that have been named to preseason award watch lists .

Miami’s pass rush is going to be even more important than it was last season. The Hurricanes have to rebuild their secondary this season. Jaquan Johnson at the rover spot is the only returning starter in the secondary.

Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz preaches an aggressive, get up the field defense. Miami’s 8.3 tackles for loss per game in 2016 ranked fifth in the country.

Jackson has a propensity for the big play. In addition to the 10.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks last season, he also added two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries each. His biggest play of 2016 was a fumble recovery scoop and score against Georgia Tech.

The play came on the heels of a scoop and score from Quarterman. The two defensive touchdowns added with an offensive one gave the Hurricanes 21 points in 1:38. It broke open a seven all tie into a 28-7 Miami Hurricanes lead.

Jackson’s spot on the first team on the depth chart commenced with two starts last season. He started and had four tackles and a sack in the Miami Hurricanes 31-14 victory over West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Jackson is one of an embarrassing of riches for Miami on the defensive line. D-Line Coach Craig Kuligowski has done an outstanding job developing the Hurricanes defensive line in his year plus on the job.

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Jackson will be part of a deep and talented rotation. By the end of the season with his big play ability, he could be the one earning post season recognition.