Former Pascagoula High standout James Jackson has made himself right at home in Mobile since transferring from Mississippi State to South Alabama last year.
Jackson is in his second year as the starting center for the Jaguars, who are off to a 2-0 start with wins over Nicholls State and Central Michigan.
The 6-foot-6, 319-pound behemoth was honored this week as he was chosen to wear the “Honorary Five’ jersey in what is billed as one of the biggest games ever in South Alabama program history as the Jaguars head to the historic Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, Cal.,to face UCLA Saturday afternoon.
The “Honorary Five” jersey is bestowed on a Jag player each week in memory of former South Alabama running back Anthony Mostella, who died in a motorcycle crash some years back.
This is the second time in his two seasons in Mobile that Jackson earned this honor. Jackson will wear the number 50 jersey instead of his usual number 68 because linemen must wear a number from 50-79 according to NCAA rules. Jackson got the honor last & wore 55, but can’t do that this year because Jags guard Dontae Lucas is 55.
South head coach Kane Wommack made a point to single Jackson out for his presence on the jaguars in his post-game press conference over the weekend after the road win over Central Michigan.
“To watch some of the guys like Carter Bradley, who is starting to establish himself as a vocal leader on our team, along with James Jackson and La’Damian Webb on offense and defensive players like ‘Q’ [Quintin] Wilfawn and ‘Bubba’ [Wy’Kevious] Thomas, James Miller and Jalen Jordan, I feel like we have a group of guys who are just resetting the expectation of this program. That is starting to show up on our sideline on game days to this point.” Wommack said.
Bradley, who takes snaps from Jackson, was one of eight quarterbacks named to the national Manning Award “Stars of the Week” Monday after guiding South to the 38-24 win.
Jackson came to Mobile from Starkville, where he played for three seasons at MSU on the offensive and defensive lines. During that time he helped the Bulldogs earn spots in three consecutive bowl games, playing in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Music City Bowl and the Outback Bowl. The Bulldogs beat Louisville in the TaxSlayer Bowl in 2017 when Jackson was a redshirt freshman.
Jackson was standout lineman for three seasons under head coach Lewis Sims at Pascagoula High.