Justin Jackson signs with University of Colorado Boulder

Justin Jackson, a former defensive end for the Mustangs who went on to play at Northwest Mississippi Community College, signed Dec. 18 to play at the University of Colorado Boulder. "He's a really good player and he has the skill set that we need," Buffaloes coach Mel Tucker has said about Jackson. "He's got really good quickness and he has the ability to hold up in the run game."

Maya Taylor, Staff Writer

Now officially committed to the University of Colorado Boulder, Justin Jackson has tackled more than football over the years.

“There were times when he just felt that he wasn’t deserving enough to accomplish what he could,” Donna Polk said Dec. 18 after she watched her son sign to play football for the Buffaloes. “So for him to realize that he has the confidence to succeed and make it to this level in his life, it says a lot about him to be able to just withstand everything, even though it was hard.”

Jackson, who described himself as “not the best student” when he attended Center Hill High School and played defensive end for the Mustangs, said it took some time to overcome his classroom struggles.

“My first two years I kind of played around,” he said. “I guess I wasn’t a good test taker, or I think it was that I just didn’t believe in myself. And when I started thinking about that, I started believing in myself a little bit more. My last two years I buckled down and got my work done.”

Jackson joined the defensive line for the Rangers at Northwest Mississippi Community College after his high school graduation in 2018. On Dec. 16, a day after his 21st birthday, he graduated from Northwest. Two days later, he returned to The Hill to sign his commitment with the University of Colorado Boulder.

“It’s a big accomplishment in my life, and I’m just ready to start a new chapter,” Jackson said.

Mustangs head football coach Alan Peacock recalled telling Jackson’s mother that her son would sign a college football scholarship one day.

“I can coach a lot of things, but I can’t coach a kid to be 6’2” and 200-something pounds in eighth grade,” Peacock said. “He has come into his own at Northwest, wanting to better himself and be a better student and do the things that it takes to be successful day in and day out.”

Peacock said out of Northwest, Jackson was recruited by Florida, Auburn, West Virginia and Colorado. Buffaloes coach Mel Tucker acknowledged the interest during a signing day press conference published on cubuffs.com.

“We’re not in a vacuum when recruiting these guys,” Tucker said, calling Jackson a really good player with the skill set the program needs. “Everybody else wants the same guys too, but he saw the culture, he felt it, he saw the vision, and he wanted to be a part of it. He’s all in with us and we’re all in with him.”