2022 Recruit Kenyatta Jackson Comes From Strong Football Background, Talks Interest from LSU
Kenyatta Jackson is one the most highly touted rising juniors in the country out of Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, Florida. His offer list has far surpassed the double digit mark and include schools like Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Florida.
But it's the offer from LSU that he was really waiting on. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end has a strong football background in his family, one that includes LSU. His grandfather, Rudy Barber, is a former member of the Miami Dolphins.
His uncles, Rudy Barber Jr. and Kantroy Barber, both played Division I football at Miami and West Virginia and made it to the NFL. Melvin Richie, Jackson's cousin, played at LSU in the early 2000's under Nick Saban.
"They all give me this one message and it’s to keep God in everything you do," Jackson said. "They play a big part in the recruiting process obviously because they've been through it. They all tell me not to rush it, slow it down, observe everything and make a decision that feels right to you. In terms of LSU, I was really waiting on this offer and I was finally blessed to receive it."
When Jackson got on the phone with coach Ed Orgeron, the Tigers' coach told Jackson he thought the program had already offered him. It was a complete surprise to Jackson, who was just stunned to even receive an offer from the national champs.
Because LSU made the offer on July 21, Jackson, who had already whittled his list down to 12, will now be adding a 13th team to the mix. Jackson said Orgeron loved his aggressiveness, athleticism and ability to play fast on every play.
"They said how excited they were to offer me, they loved my film, love how I play," Jackson said. "I play their style of defense and they were telling me the SEC is the toughest conference in college football and think I can fit in their defense as well. They love to see defensive ends be able to play sideline to sideline and were impressed that I can do that."
As he enters his junior season, some traits of his that Jackson feels stick out above the rest are his get off speed, strength and aggressiveness. He features a plethora of moves at the line of scrimmage including the long arm, rip and spin moves as well as just blowing past offensive linemen. All of that has improved because of his offseason work and overall physical growth as a player.
One area he's worked this offseason improving is his hands and not only being more aggressive with them but knowing how to use them to his advantage when rushing the passer.
Jackson has tried to better himself this offseason in particular and has been studying some of his favorite players and seeing what they do that works. Like most, whenever he wasn't working out, Jackson was inside quarantining and studying players like Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Chase Young.
While he takes away something from each, the player he really tries to model himself after is Mack.
"Obviously he's a lot bigger than me but our size and our strength play huge parts of our game and that's why I model my game after him," Jackson said. "I've been compared to him a lot."
Now that LSU has entered the mix, Jackson really wants to continue to build a relationship with the coaching staff, starting with Orgeron and also hopes to take a visit as soon as it's safe.
"The program is great, coach O is a defensive line guy and having your head coach be a defensive line guy plays a big part," Jackson said. "I would love to go to a program where the head coach is so heavily involved with the defensive line unit."
One of the takeaways he had from last year's LSU team, which he followed throughout the year, was the "swagger" they carried themselves with on the field. That's something that Jackson likes to add to his own game and just one of the many things he's looking for in the college of his future.
"I want to attend a college that treats me like family. I want to graduate college with a degree that makes me and my family proud and my goal is to go in as a true freshman, start and start winning championships," Jackson said. "I want to major in sports medicine as an orthopedic surgeon."