Jackson Sirmon is the son of the University of California defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon. He's also the former roommate, current teammate and close friend of Edefuan Ulofoshio, the University of Washington inside linebacker All-American candidate.
With this Sirmon, it's never all about him. With this hard-nosed guy, it's more where he's from and who he knows and how can he help.
Fans would like this linebacker from Brentwood, Tennessee, to be more individualistic on the Husky defense, more of a spotlight guy, a playmaker. Yet the coaches like him just fine where he is — as a reliable wing man for Ulofoshio.
It was two seasons ago that the UW's starting inside linebackers were always out of position, which proved disastrous. They continually gave up big gainers and created no turnovers. They were a big reason the Huskies stumbled through an underachieving 8-5 season.
With Sirmon, he's an exceedingly smart player (mind you, a two-time All-Pac-12 Academic honor roll recipient) who Jimmy Lake and his defensive coaching staff have come to trust and count on explicitly to make good decisions.
He's also turned himself into a 6-foot-3, 240-pound physical specimen who, along with Ulofoshio — both ranking among the top three in the hang clean lift — have turned themselves into some of the stronger and rangier players on the UW roster.
Going down the roster in numerical order, this is another of our post-spring assessments of all of the Husky talent at hand, gleaned from a month of observations, as a way to keep everyone engaged during the offseason.
Sirmon wears No. 43, a number he has all to himself among the heavy digit-duplicate UW players. He feels comfortable wearing the shirt and maintaining a Husky starting role.
"At this point, I'm pretty familiar with the defensive playbook," he said. "I think it's just knowing what the offense is going to run at you next."
Still listed as a sophomore with his pandemic free season in hand, he started all four games next to Ulofoshio last fall and averaged nearly 7 tackles per game.
He's the guy keeping promising inside linebackers such as Daniel Heimuli, Alphonzo Tuputala, MJ Tafisi and Miki Ah You waiting in the wings for more playing time.
He's one of three Sirmons who have played for the UW over the past year, counting quarterback cousins Jacob, now at Central Michigan, and Camden, who walked on this spring after first committing to Montana.
With his dad changing coaching jobs, Jackson first lined up as a sophomore linebacker for Loyola High School in Los Angeles before spending two seasons with the Brentwood Academy just outside of Nashville. He chose the Huskies largely over Wisconsin, Vanderbilt and Memphis.
Against Arizona last November, Sirmon had the unique experience of turning up in the Husky rushing game stats alongside cousin Jacob. Jackson ran for 4 yards with a fake punt for a first down while his relative scrambled out of the pocket twice for 5 yards.
As for making the big play, Jackson Sirmon might have a few of those in him. In the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl, for instance, he was a reserve who picked up a Boise State fumble and rumbled 54 yards with it before getting pulled down on the Broncos 35 as the clock ran out in the Huskies' 38-7 victory.
As a starter, his teammates, and the fans, no doubt expect him to go the distance if he gets another chance like that.
Still, a player such as Sirmon enables the playmaking Ulofoshio plenty of cover to get up field and knock the ball loose or flatten a quarterback. There is a deep respect between these two linebackers.
"That dude, we roomed together freshman year and we've been best friends ever since," Sirmon said. "It's been great watching him grow, watching him become the player he is now. He's really one of my close friends here. So it's really fun playing next to him."
Spoken like a true wing man.
2021 Outlook: Projected as inside linebacker starter
UW Service Time: Played in 21 games, started 4
Stats: 56 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries; 1 rush for 4 yards on fake punt
Individual Honors: Not yet
Pro prospects: 2024 NFL second-day draftee
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