Red Bank’s Calvin Jackson, who helped the Lions reach the 2017 Class 3A football semifinals, verbally committed to Wofford College on Tuesday morning and then celebrated by heading for Florida and a family vacation.
“I’m really excited,” Jackson said in a telephone interview of his decision to join the 2017 Southern Conference champion Terriers. “I don’t have to worry about taking visits or having coaches calling me.
I’m going to focus on trying to help Red Bank win a state championship.
“I think last year was a great experience for us in the playoffs and we have a lot of things to work on, but I believe we can make a big run this upcoming season.”
Red Bank defeated Loudon to capture the Region 3-3A championship last season and then knocked off Sequatchie County, York Institute and Smith County to reach the 3-A semifinals where the Lions fell to eventual state champion Alcoa, 34-0.
“Calvin’s biggest accomplishment last year was being a Class 3A Mr. Football semifinalist,” said Red Bank coach Chris Brown, who was selected in February to succeed Chad Grabowski after serving as an assistant coach at Unicoi County, Ooltewah and Cleveland.
“He’s an all-purpose athlete and played every offensive skill position a year ago,” Brown said. “He specialized on offense with some spot duty on defense when needed. This year he’ll continue those roles with us and we’ll be creating ways to get the ball to him in space. He’s about 195 pounds right now and that’s impressive, but when what jumps out about him is his speed, elusiveness and upper body strength.”
Jackson piled up 1,070 yards and 12 touchdowns as a wide receiver, rushed for 870 yards and 20 TDs and returned one kickoff for a score while leading the Lions to an 11-3 record last season.
In the win against Loudon that nailed down a region title, Jackson rushed for two touchdowns of 1 and 2 yards and caught a 41-yard touchdown pass.
Over the weeks and months since, Jackson studied his college options. His first four offers came from Appalachian State, East Tennessee State, Indiana State and Wofford. He also considered Austin Peay and Kennesaw State.
“I like the campus at Wofford,” Jackson said of the school’s campus located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. “It wasn’t too big or too small and I developed a real good relationship with the Wofford coaches. I feel like they really cared for me throughout my recruitment. Plus, they have great academics over there and that comes first with me.
“Once I got to middle school I began to think that playing might be something I’d like to do for a while. I started getting on top of my grades and improving my football skills.”
Brown said Jackson is a 3.0 student and “comes from a great family and is a high-quality, high-character kid.”
Wofford went 10-3 last season and reached double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. With a 7-1 mark, the Terriers won their first conference title. They beat league rival Furman in the NCS playoffs before losing to eventual national champion North Dakota State.
(Contact Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @larryfleming44)