Loudon High School was well-represented Friday when senior running back Drew Jackson participated in the 13th annual Tennessee East-West All-Star Classic at Austin Peay State University.
The game features many of the top football players across the state, and teams are split into East and West divisions.
Greenback School’s Holden Willis and Derrell Bailey Jr. were selected to play but did not participate.
Jackson finished second on the East team in rushing with 10 carries for 50 yards and a score.
“It’s just an amazing feeling, like being able to compete with the top guys of Tennessee, that’s just a great feeling,” he said. “Every day, I was just soaking it in and then the experience and all, it was just a great feeling. I got to give credit to the offensive line, that was a big offensive line. I saw a hole and it was a one-cut, and I just took off from there.”
Jackson earned the starting running back spot after four days of practice.
“Yeah, I came in competing and I won over the starting job, I believe,” he said. “I won most of the reps, so I believe in the position I was in, I had a great chance to do it. We chartered to Austin Peay State University and stayed in a hotel over there throughout the week, Tuesday through Friday. (We) practiced on Austin Peay’s campus, their home field, and then Wednesday, we went to (University of Tennessee at Martin) — that was great. The rest of the practices were still at Austin Peay.”
Jackson learned he made the team during the first week of the Redskins’ playoff run in November. He finished the year with 167 carries for 1,450 yards and 22 total touchdowns and was also recognized as the Region 3-3A Most Valuable Player.
“Coach (Jeff) Harig had told me earlier in the playoffs, I believe,” Jackson said. “I was just like stunned to be selected out of all the East Tennessee players. Being able to compete in that all-star game, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Jackson is the first Redskin to play in the game in several years.
“I know Wade Plemons, Matt Henderson played in it back in the ‘90s,” Jeff Harig, LHS head football coach, said. “I know I’m forgetting people, I know there’s others, but I want to say we’ve had at least five over the years. Obviously, it’s big for him. It’s a showcase for individual players but as they go, they also carry with the pride of their program, and I thought Drew did a great job, not only representing himself, but our Loudon program. What a great ambassador for Loudon football. Drew Jackson’s always done that, and he’s a great young man and deserves whatever he has coming.”
Now that his senior football season has officially come to an end, Jackson is turning his attention to basketball and the recruiting process. He has taken several visits to schools, including APSU.
“I mean right now, my recruitment’s 100 percent open,” he said. “I haven’t really seen any colleges, but there’s still some looking at me as well.”