To say that McNeese State safety and NFL Draft prospect Janzen Jackson’s past is checkered is like calling the infamous cocktail sauce at St. Elmo’s in Indianapolis mild. It’s a dramatic understatement.
Janzen Jackson was supposed to be one of the can’t miss stars from Tennessee’s highly rated Class of 2009. He wound up being one of the many casualties of the class instead.
He was a five-star cornerback coming out of high school who was committed to the home-state LSU Tigers for almost a year before a signing day flip led him to Knoxville, Tennessee. It didn’t take long for Jackson to make his mark on the program, as Jackson cracked the starting lineup as a true freshman, pairing up with current Kansas City Chiefs star Eric Berry to create one of the SEC’s most talented safety tandems.
However, as blatantly apparent as Janzen Jackson’s talents were, his issues were just as obvious. Jackson was allegedly involved in a 2009 robbery in Knoxville that led to the dismissal of two other players. Jackson was never charged, but the circumstances around his involvement were nefarious at best.
After the departure of Lane Kiffin, there were worries that Jackson wouldn’t return to Knoxville, but in 2010 Janzen put up All-SEC numbers under Derek Dooley. However, after the regular season, Jackson returned home to Louisiana and missed the majority of bowl preparations to “take care of family issues.”
Finally, prior to the 2011 season, Jackson was dismissed from the team permanently for violating team rules.
Jackson would eventually land back home in Louisiana at FCS McNeese State before declaring for the NFL Draft following the 2011 season, and he has been projected by some to go as high as the second-round because of his obvious physical talents and a track record of success in the SEC. However, on Tuesday, Jackson turned in sub-standard times of 4.57 and 4.60 in the 40-yard dash that may prove costly for the underclassmen.
Combined with a questionable past and less-than prototypical size for an NFL safety, Jackson’s 40 time has the talented young defensive back’s stock slipping, and unfortunately for Jackson, a McNeese State pro day isn’t likely to draw a large quantity of NFL scouts. Jackson was expected to run in the sub-4.5 range, which would have likely put him firmly into the third round, but after a poor performance in Indy, Jackson would be lucky to go before the sixth round.