Dudley E. Dawson is a reporter for Hawgs Illustrated. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Arkansas pledge Jackson ready to unleash on Texas
Arkansas receivers coach Justin Stepp, Razorbacks commit Ketron Jackson, and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.
FAYETTEVILLE It’s been a long time coming for the Royse City, Texas, football team to face another opponent, but it finally arrives Friday night.
The Bulldogs, who feature Arkansas four-star wide receiver commit Ketron Jackson (6-2, 186, 4.4 40-yard dash), will scrimmage Frisco Liberty tonight with the covid-19 delayed regular season officially opening next Friday at home against Frisco Centennial.
“We had a midnight practice Monday morning,” Royse City head coach David Petroff said of the earliest his classification allowed official workouts. “That was the first time we could put the helmets on. We are ready to go.
“We have been working out, conditioning and weights since June 8, I believe it was. So, we were ready to put the helmets on and to get to full pads and scrimmage. We are way ahead of where we usually are because of our skill work during the summer.”
Royse City was 9-3 last season with Jackson hauling in 61 passes for 889 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 14.6 yards per reception.
Petroff believes Jackson’s numbers could go up this season for Royse City, which is ranked 25th in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football preseason Class 5A Division II rankings.
“We will probably rely on him even more this year because I feel like we have a quarterback who can throw it down the field. That will probably allow him to rack up even more yards this year,” Petroff said. “We can throw the ball deep to him and let him go to work.”
Jackson, 247 Sports' 150th-best player nationally, chose Arkansas over Alabama, LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor and TCU among many other programs.
“He is going to try and score every time he gets the ball,” Petroff said. “He obviously has the size and speed and goes up and makes plays.
“I guess the one thing the coaches really like is that he loves to block. He is happy for other kids to succeed. I think he led us in holding penalties last year and that is not normal for a receiver, but what he is doing is he is out there pancaking little corners and these guys (referees) who are not used to being in the box are calling holding penalties when he is just blocking them to the ground.”
Petroff sees Jackson as someone mentally and physically mature enough to make an early impact at Arkansas.
“He has actually grown about an inch this past year and is 6-2, 190 now, and gosh, his explosiveness is there and he probably has the second or third best long jump in state and he can just fly for his size,” Petroff said. “I think he can come in and contribute right away.
“The other thing about contributing early is can he pick up the offense and learn what you are supposed to do, but as smart as he is and as hard as he works, I don’t think that will be a problem. With us, he wants to know what every player is doing on the play, not just him, so he can make adjustments and keep making plays. So, I don’t think that is going to be that big of a problem.”
Royse City won its first division championship in 12 years last season before losing to eventual champion Aledo and Alabama tailback and early enrollee Jase McClellan 52-24 in the Class 5A Division II quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs are picked to finish third in District 8-5A-11 behind Ennis and North Forney with junior tailback Armon Petty-Dozier, who rushed for 1,173 yards as a sophomore last season, joining Jackson as big-play weapons.
“We believe we have got something special going here with these young men,” Petroff said. “We are anxious to hit the field.”
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