By Rodrick Anderson
Like a boy scout’s Swiss Army knife that has a tool for every situation, Sam Houston High School’s Dustin Jackson will be the Broncos’ answer for nearly every play.
Jackson could play as many as six positions this season.
Under first year head coach Chad Paulk, Jackson was penciled in at slot receiver this year after starting at quarterback as a junior. But an injury to sophomore Kyle Bartley has Jackson back under center for the time being.
“It really wasn’t that big of a switch because I played the position before,” Jackson said. “I just want to help the team out and help us win.
“I want to be the best player I can be to help the team to perform better. We just have to win. That is the whole idea behind football, and to better yourself as a person.”
Jackson could also see time this year as a running back, depending on the play called, plus kicker, punter and in the return game.
In 2016, Jackson completed 94-of-202 passes for 1,378 yards. He threw seven touchdowns to just three interceptions. When he was on the run, Jackson rushed for 434 yards and 10 touchdowns on 146 carries.
His best game was a 218 yard, two touchdown performance in Week 3 35-20 loss on the road to Catholic-Baton Rouge.
Jackson last played receiver as a sophomore in 2015 and said that knowing the position helps him at quarterback.
“I like making plays with the ball in my hands,” Jacksons said. “I like to adlib and have a little more fun.
“It helped me understand how the routes are supposed to be run and where I am supposed to throw the ball. It helps me better communicate with my receivers. Quarterback is a position that everything is centered around you, so you have to be on your game at all times. Having everybody rely on me makes me feel pretty good. I am still working on my game. No matter if it is perfect or not, I still want to do better.”
Jackson said is hoping his ability to play multiple positions will draw the attention of more college scouts.
Jackson, who also runs the 4x400-meter relay and 400-meter dash for the Bronco track team, said the transition to a new coach has been a positive one for a Bronco team that went 1-9 last year.
“I love him (Paulk) to death,” Jackson said. “He is a great coach.
“He has really come in and made a big difference in our mind set and that we can’t be down on ourselves. As bad as it gets, we still have to have the mindset that we can do it.”
Three of the Broncos’ losses last season were by six points or less. Jackson said the key this year will be playing stronger in the second half of each game.
“Against Catholic, we lost in the second half, so we have to finish the second half strong,” Jackson said. “Most of the games we came out strong in the first half.
“Our mindset as a team has to change as a whole. We really just have to focus on what we do wrong and not what others do wrong.”