Pull Up A Chair: Jamal Jackson
By Matthew Osborne
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App State quarterback Jamal Jackson threw for 2,001 yards and 15 touchdowns in just seven starts last season.
In the latest installment in our “Pull Up A Chair” series, Southern Pigskin writer Matt Osborne talked with Appalachian State quarterback Jamal Jackson about a wide variety of topics. Jackson is hoping to lead the Mountaineers to their fourth national title this millennia in 2012.
What is your favorite movie?
“To get me pumped and ready to play, I’d have to say ‘Any Given Sunday’.”
What is your favorite food?
“I’d have to go with barbecue chicken and barbecue ribs.”
Who is your favorite musical artist?
“It kind of varies. My iPod stays on shuffle a lot of times. If I had to pick one, I’d go with Notorious B.I.G.”
If you could invite any three people from any period of history over to your house for dinner, who would they be?
“Martin Luther King Jr. would have to be one. Barack Obama would also be one, and George Washington.”
Who is your celebrity crush?
“There are a lot of those. If I had to pick one, it would have to be Meagan Good.”
Do you have any secret talents?
“I’m a master at video games. I’m good at NBA 2K12, Madden and NCAA. I like to play a little bit of chess. I’m still working on my game, but hopefully I’ll get a little bit better. I played basketball in high school too.”
Who is your favorite celebrity to follow on Twitter?
“Kevin Hart. He always says something that makes you laugh, so I always look at him on my timeline.”
You grew up and played your high school ball in Atlanta. What was it like transitioning from Atlanta to Boone, North Carolina?
“It was definitely a different atmosphere and a different feeling. I had been in Atlanta my whole life, and I was ready to get out and see what else was out there. It wasn’t that hard to transition because I was going from a fast city to a slower city. I just work hard and relax, and I really enjoy it here.”
It came as a surprise to many when you replaced DeAndre Presley as the starting quarterback during the season last year. Was it tough transitioning from backup to starter so quickly?
“Not at all. I always kept my mindset that I was the starter, even when I was watching DeAndre and learning from him. That’s how my mindset has been ever since I was little. I was just preparing myself mentally. I know there were going to be some times when I would hit the learning curve, but I worked hard and I think I set myself up for some success by having that mentality.”
Does it feel different heading into this season knowing that you are the starter at quarterback?
“I keep the same mindset of working hard. I try not to take anything for granted and play like it’s my last practice and just lead the team. I feel like I’m more comfortable since I’ve got some experience under my belt.”
How tough will it be to replace the production of Brian Quick?
“Anytime you lose somebody like that it’s going to be tough. I feel like we have some young receivers who are ready to step up and they are hungry. We’ve been working, so I feel like we have some guys who will give us the production that we need on offense.”
Appalachian State seems to lead the FCS in attendance almost every season. Can you talk a little about the Mountaineer fans?
“Man, I love them, and I speak for the whole team. We have the best fans in the nation. Every time I come out for warm-ups two or three hours before the game, we have students and fans already in the stands. They are definitely our twelfth man on the field. I wouldn’t trade them for anybody else in the nation.”
What aspects of your game have you been focusing on improving this offseason?
“All aspects. I never want to limit myself by focusing on one thing. Our strength coach does a great job with the football team and getting us better all-around. Everyday I’m just working hard and trying to become the best all-around quarterback in the nation.”
You guys had your first day of spring practice yesterday. How did it go?
“It was definitely a good day out there. We learned lots of new things. Things are going to happen on the first day, but we are working hard and it just feels good to be back out on this turf.”
Is this App State team capable of winning another national championship? If so, what is going to take to accomplish that goal?
“Most definitely. It takes a lot of focus. We have to stay focused on both sides of the ball. Everybody has to do their one-eleventh on the field. If everybody can do their one-eleventh, whether it is blocking, running or throwing, we definitely have the talent and the coaching to get us where we want to be this fall.”