Kentucky Football: Drake Jackson living his dream while invited to Senior Bowl

Drake Jackson of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Drake Jackson of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Kentucky football center Drake Jackson to end his college career in Senior Bowl.

Kentucky Football received more good news early this January when senior center Drake Jackson accepted an invitation to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl this Saturday, closing the door on an illustrious college career at Kentucky.

Jackson is considered by many around the program to be the best center of all-time in the history of Kentucky Football. Jackson started 46 games under center for Kentucky and was a pivotal cog in the “Big Blue Wall” as dubbed by many.

Jackson was an essential part of blocking for some of the most dynamic rushing attacks in the country over the last five years including Lynn Bowden, Benny Snell, and this year’s trio of Christopher Rodriguez, Asim Rose, and Kavosiey Smoke.

The most notable center for Kentucky would be Dermontii Dawson who played at Kentucky from 1984-87, and after his entire pro career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame in 2012.

Jackson compares just as well with Dawson at UK and time will tell if he duplicates the pro success.

Coach Mark Stopps hit the trifecta the year he landed Jackson because included in that class were fellow Kentuckians Landon Young an offensive lineman from Lexington Lafayette, and Paintsville linebacker Kash Daniel.

He redshirted his first year in 2016 and while watching Young and Daniel play he absorbed what was going on around him both on and off the field preparing him for what would lie ahead both on the field and in the classroom.

Jackson graduated in December of 2019 with a degree in agricultural economics and is working on a master’s degree in kinesiology and health promotion. A big step from a self-proclaimed kid from a small Kentucky town.

Before the 2020 season in an interview in the Cadiz Record, he talked about the amazement of pre and post-season recognition.

"“It’s one of those things that no matter how much I try to sit down and reflect and think about, this is where I wanted to be and really was my childhood dream. I am from small-town Kentucky. Never imagined this happening. I am getting publicity like few linemen ever do. It still blows my mind every time I see that. Part of me says there is still so much more I can prove. So as glad as I am to see it (preseason recognition), that’s not my end goal. That is not all want.”"

If he isn’t playing football he lists in his Kentucky football bio that he wants to be coaching football, but the ultimate dream would be an astronaut. Well, there aren’t many 6-foot-2 292-pound astronauts, but you should always dream big.

This past season he was one of the captains along with Young, and he also referenced if he had to be stranded on an island with his teammates he would choose the freshman offensive linemen because they do what he tells them.

Spoken like the true leader he has been at Kentucky.

Drake Jackson of the Big Blue Wall

Drake Jackson in the middle of the #BigBlueWall• @Rimington Trophy Watch List (CFB's Top Center)• Joe Moore Award semifinalist• UK led the Southeastern Conference (5th nationally) in rushing yards per game – 274.4• Only 2 missed assignments in 775 plays #BringIt #BBN

Posted by Kentucky Football on Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Jackson’s future is unknown, obviously, he will be playing on Sundays for some lucky franchise. NFLDRAFTSCOUT currently has Jackson projected to be a seventh-round draft pick, and I do believe he will be fortunate enough to grab a combine invite where he could improve that stock even more.

Kentucky fans owe a lot to the Woodford County native, not often does a Kentucky kid get to live the dream of getting a football scholarship to his hometown school and get to be apart of something as special as Jackson has got to be a part of.

Five straight bowl games, a Citrus Bowl, a Belk Bowl, and a Gator Bowl victory. Something not a lot of players that have worn the blue and white have been able to accomplish. Jackson has always embodied what being a team player is all about, Jackson bought into what Mark Stoops sold him as a recruit and it’s getting ready to pay off.

Jackson spoke about his time at Kentucky to Saturday Down South, and his last apperance at Kroger Field.

"“I don’t know how many games I’ve played, but I’m looking right now where I sat at my first UK game years ago,” Jackson said. “There’s nothing that I ever wanted more than to be in the position I am now. I never forget that. … I always remember being that little kid, 8 years old, watching the UK football team play and wanting to be one of them.”"

Be sure to tune in this Saturday at 2:30 pm on NFL Network to see Jackson one last time as an amateur, and on special teams watch punter Max Duffy who also accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

Next. Kentucky Football: Former Wildcat Mike Edwards representing UK in Super Bowl LV. dark