Richard Davenport is a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
El Dorado's Jackson having banner senior year
News-Times/Michael Orrell -- El Dorado defensive lineman Bijhon Jackson, purple, works a Camden Fairview offensive lineman in the Wildcats season opener at Memorial Stadium.
El Dorado defensive lineman Bijhon Jackson is playing with more confidence this year after a productive summer.
Jackson, 6-2, 320, 5.24 seconds in the 40 yard dash, gained confidence after being one of the better defensive linemen at The Opening, the premier event for the top prospects in the nation at Nike Headquarters in Oregon. He also performed well at Arkansas’ camp.
“I think that gave him a lot of confidence,” said El Dorado Coach Scott Reed. “He’s playing well. He’s a different guy than what he was a year ago. We’ve been really pleased with him progress.”
Jackson has recorded 14 unassisted tackles, 8 assisted tackles, 1 tackles for loss, an interception, quarterback knockdown, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble. He also improved his diet which helped his endurance.
“He’s worked on improving his conditioning,” Reed said. “About a week ago he said I wish I was in this good of shape last year. He runs to the ball well.”
He can play harder for extended amount of time, said Jackson.
“Last I was I didn’t feel my best,” he said. “I felt tired all the time and had a lot of weight on me. I’m not much lighter than last season, I’m just more conditioned to it now.”
Jackson was named to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas team last season after recording 67 tackles, including 12 for loss and 6 sacks. He explained one of the reasons for his increased stamina.
“I kind of have a strange addiction to sodas,” said Jackson, who has a 415 pound bench press and set a state record in the power clean with a 335 pound lift at the state weightlifting meet in April. “I know the sodas were killing me. I drank at least a soda a day last season. I can’t remember the last time I had a soda. I pretty much cut those out.”
He’s also changed his diet.
“I’m eating a lot of beans and spinach, salads and chicken and stuff like that,” Jackson said. “I’ve been staying between 315 and 325 for the season.”
Prior to The Opening in June, Jackson suffered a setback in his conditioning when his two grandmothers tempted him with some homemade desserts.
“One of my grandmas cooked a pecan pie the other one cooked a blueberry pie and some kind of blueberry cobbler,” Jackson said. “I just couldn’t stay away from it.”
Jackson said his grandmothers haven’t cooked for him lately.
“I don’t know how I would react to them cooking for me,” he said.