Warren Jackson rushed through outdoor training with a handful of Colorado State teammates in Fort Collins last week when Rams’ latest NFL-bound wide receiver took a break to video chat with reporters.
“We’ll get back to it in a moment,” said Jackson, still glistening with sweat.
Jackson broke through as a junior on the national college football radar last season with 77 catches for 1,119 yards in just 10 games. He also praises a top level bravado that can’t even dampen a global pandemic.
“I want to win a Mountain West Championship with this team,” said Jackson. “We’ve got everyone in line to do it.”
Strong talk for a program that searches for relevance. CSU has not won a congressional crown in nearly two decades (2002), achieving an average of only six wins per season since legendary chieftain Sonny Lubick retired in 2007. Now freshman coach Steve Addazio gets his chance to return fame to the green and gold.
Jackson’s confidence in accelerated team success stems from a burgeoning tradition of CSU talent in his position, where four Ram’s wide receivers have been placed on NFL grids since 2016.
Michael Gallup overshadowed 1,000 meters in his second season for the Cowboys. Olabisi Johnson (Vikings) and Preston Williams (Dolphins) were rookies last year who combined 63 catches, 722 yards and six touchdowns. Rashard Higgins has seven NFL TDs over four seasons with the Browns.
The CSU wide receiving fraternity is real.
“I spoke to Mike (Gallup) last week about how his route has improved over time,” said Jackson. “He just encouraged me to keep working hard now.”
Progress is made more difficult, however, as CSU-starting quarterback Patrick O’Brien is trapped at home in San Juan Capistrano, California, south of Los Angeles, on orders at home. Both Rams downplayed any remaining chemistry problems due to the fracture.
“Me and (Jackson) as a combo could really jump this season,” said O’Brien. “We understand how each other works. He knows what I want him to do and expects me to throw the ball in certain places. I think there is a good connection between the two of us. ”
Jackson said he talks to O’Brien several times a week, adding, “I don’t want to make everything about football. I want to check in with him and make sure he is doing well, and all his loved ones are doing well too. “
Jackson said his personal goal this season is to outperform last year’s stats and play a healthy season for an entire season after injuries have sidelined him over the past two years. Jackson’s mix of size (6-foot-6, 215 pounds), athletics and production is sure to catch NFL scouts this fall.
Jackson’s mindset is that nothing has changed despite the pandemic. The Colorado Buffaloes await September 5 at Canvas Stadium.
“I should be a leader,” said Jackson, “and I should take people along the way.”
CSU WIDE RECIPIENTS IN THE NFL
Track career statistics of former Colorado State football-wide receivers currently in the NFL.
|Rashard Higgins (Browns)||4||76||1,016||7|
|Michael Gallup (Cowboys)||2||99||1,614||8|
|Olabisi Johnson (Vikings)||1||31||294||3|
|Preston Williams (dolphins)||1||32||428||3|