August 16, 2020

 

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PDATE: Warren Jackson announced his intention to leave the CSU football program and begin preparing for the 2021 NFL draft. It's understandable. He's a good guy and I wish him luck.


“To my family, my teammates, coaches, staff, and the fans, thank you for the love and passion you have shown me during my time wearing the green and gold,” Jackson said via social media. “It has been an honor to play alongside you, play for you, and represent our university over the years. I have grown so much as a man and as a football player during my time in Fort Collins, and for that, I will be forever grateful.”

 

Steve Addazio won't get a chance to coach Jackson during a season, after all. The Rams had gotten in seven spring practices when the shutdown came. 

 

"From day one, Warren Jackson has been all about this football team and developing his game for the next level,” Addazio said in in a statement issued by CSU. “He has been the type of leader you want to see from your most talented players. With the postponement of the season, Warren expressed a desire to begin training for his NFL future, and we fully support him in that decision." 

 

Below is the feature I wrote on him during preseason practice a year ago, and it's interesting to note that CU also had recruited him.       

 

 

August 2019

 

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FORT COLLINS -- Rashard Higgins is with the Cleveland Browns, Michael Gallup is with the Dallas Cowboys, Preston Williams is with the Miami Dolphins and Bisi Johnson, a seventh-round draft choice this year, so far is hanging on with the Minnesota Vikings. 

 

That's the roll call of wide receivers at Colorado State from 2013 on who have moved on to the NFL.

 

Warren Jackson likely will join them in the pro game in a year or two, but for now, the 6-foot-6 junior from the Los Angeles area area is poised to step into Rams' top-receiver role after the departure of Williams and Johnson.

 

He had 32 receptions for 405 yards and four touchdowns for the Rams as a sophomore in 2018.

 

And he knows that if the Rams have any chance of rebouding from a 3-9 season a year ago, he will need to step up, additionally hone his chemistry with redshirt junior quarterback Collin Hill and be the sort of threat to make favorable comparisons to CSU's recent big-play receivers appropriate.            

 

"I feel like I can be a real spark for this offense and help us win games," Jackson told me. "Collin and I always had good chemistry. From my freshman and his redshirt freshman year, we were always on the field together. It's something we've built in our time here and I think it's starting to pay off now. It's just catching the ball where he wants me to be, where he's going to put the ball, knowing where I like it and how he likes certain routes run. It's a lot of little things like that."    

 

Jackson's decision to come to CSU was a bit of an upset.

 

In Jackson's recruiting profile updated after he signed a national of intent with the Rams in early 2017, ESPN.com listed him with scholarship offers from CSU, Arizona, Colorado, Fresno State, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon State, San Jose State, Washington State and Wyoming.

 

Yes, Colorado was in there.

 

Jackson attended Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach and played football there his sophomore and junior years before transferrring to Bishop Alemany High in Mission Hills, about 35 miles north, midway through his junior year.

 

At the end of his stay at Redondo Union, his father, Ron, had been taking him to Redondo Beach, though Ron lived and worked in the San Fernando Valley.

 

"I lived in the Valley and was driving to the South Bay every day," Jackson said. "It was tough on my dad, going that hour and a half every morning. We just decided I'd go somewhere that was five minutes away, great school, Catholic school with a pretty good football team."

 

He said that on the day he transferred to Bishop Alemany, he had just taken an entrance test when the schooll's football coach found him and announced that CU assistant coach Darian Hagan wanted to talk with him.

 

"They offered me on the day I transferred," Jackson said of the Buffaloes.

 

Jackson called Hagan "a real good dude. He came out and said, 'We've been watching you, you have a scholarship,' and I was really shocked. I had never heard from them until that day. I was, 'Wow!'"        

 

After finishing his junior year at Bishop Alemany, Jackson announced via his Twitter his "commitment" to Arizona. But as is so often the case, he changed his mind by the national letter of intent signing date about eight months later and instead signed with CSU. (The use of the term "commitment" at that point of the recruiting process -- even when qualified as "verbal" -- continues to be a joke, but remains the norm.) 

 

Jackson said the CSU staff was recruiting him early and that the Rams offered him a scholarship during his sophomore year at Redondo Union.

 

"I didn't know too much about them," Jackson said. "I'd seen Rashard. watched his tape and said, 'Man, he's really good,' so I kept tabs. They kept recruiting me that following year, but then I had the commitment to Arizona. I was set to go to Arizona, but then I took a visit there. I liked Arizona a lot. It was a great environment, great team, great teammates. But then I took a visit here and it was something I never had experienced before. I loved the atmosphere, I loved the team, I loved my soon-to-be teammates. The staff was amazing and builing that new stadium helped too."

 

Two weeks after his official visit to Arizona, he announced his "decommitment" on Twitter.

 

Following his visit to Fort Collins, he signed with the Rams in February 2017.

 

Why not CU -- the Rams' in-state rival and opponent in the Aug. 30 Rocky Mountain Showdown at Broncos Stadium at Mile High? (Hagan, by the way, is a holdover from the Mike MacIntyre staff and is running backs coach under Mel Tucker.)  

 

"I don't know," Jackson said. "Me and the coaches didn't have that relationship. We talked once in a while, but it wasn't as much as we talked here and with Arizona."

 

 At6 CSU, Jackson didn't redshirt and played as a true freshman in 2017, and he had 15 catches for 265 yards and two touchdowns.

 

"I'm glad I got my feet wet," he said. "I'm glad I got an opportunity to learn this offense by playing it. You learn better when you're actually doing something. I'm glad I didn't redshirt, I'm glad I had the opportunity to play with these guys. Mentally, I've gotten a lot tougher. Physically, I got a lot stronger. I've gained probably 25 pounds since I've been here. I got faster as well. It's just the mental things, the Xs and Os of football. I've learned a lot more of the playbook, and watching film and watching my opponent.

 

"I learned every (receiver) position by being here and watching those guys, watching how they ran certain routes. I watched the route the ran, and now it's the routes I have to run because I'm in that position now."