DeSean Jackson Gaining Early Heisman Trophy Candidate Publicity
July 16, 2007
BERKELEY - 'It's hard to think of any offense player entering 2007 as explosive and dangerous as DeSean Jackson,' said ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad. '(He) is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. (He) is an obvious Heisman candidate if Cal is contending for the Pac-10 title.'
This is just one of the examples of the publicity that University of California wide receiver DeSean Jackson has been receiving over the past month in response to the athletic departments' Heisman Trophy campaign push for the junior standout.
Jackson was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection as a wide receiver and as a punt returner in 2006, while earning first-team All-America honors as a punt returner by the Associated Press, Walter Camp Foundation, the Football Writers Association of America, the Sporting News and Rivals.com. 'I didn't see a more explosive player in the country last season than DeSean Jackson,' said ESPN college football columnist Mark Schlabach. 'Whether it was returning punts or catching the football, Jackson has the ability to change a game on any given play.'
He also captured the inaugural Randy Moss Award as the top return man in the nation as a sophomore while leading the nation with 18.2 yards per punt return. He ranked second in the Pac-10 with nine receiving touchdown and set school and Pac-10 records for season (4) and career punt return TDs (5) with a 95-yarder against Arizona. Jackson tallied four 100-yard receiving games and registered 28 plays of 20 or more yards. 'The No. 1 hold-your-breath guy on the West Coast -- and perhaps in the nation -- is DeSean Jackson,' said ESPN senior writer Pat Forde. 'Opposing fans will inhale sharply every time he gets the ball, hoping he doesn't shred their defense or kick coverage by going the distance. They won't exhale until he's tackled -- and there were 13 times last year when he never was brought down. Expect even more spectacular, long-distance scores and SportsCenter appearances this year from Jackson.'
'When California receiver and return specialist DeSean Jackson has the ball, he's just scary,' said Seattle Post-Intelligencer writer Ted Miller. 'He led the nation in punt returns last year, returning four for touchdowns. He also caught 59 passes for 1,060 yards -- 18 yards per reception -- with nine touchdowns. If the Bears start fast -- read: beat Tennessee -- Jackson could become a Heisman Trophy candidate.'
Already this off season Jackson has earned numerous accolades and was named to the Maxwell Award Preseason Watch List, which recognizes the most outstanding player in the nation. Jackson was rated as the No. 1 receiver in the nation by The Sporting News and Rivals.com (Rivals also tabbed him as the No. 1 special teams player). Mel Kiper also tabbed him as the No. 1 junior receiver in the nation. Jackson has been prominent in several football publications including Athlon Sports (first-team All-America), Playboy Magazine (first-team All-America), The Sporting News (first-team All-America), Street & Smith's (first-team All-America) and Blue Ribbon (first-team All-America).
'The combination of receiver skills combined with his brilliance as a punt returner is probably unmatched in school history,' said legendary Cal radio announcer Joe Starkey. 'All American Wesley Walker ranks with the great receivers at Cal and All American punt and kick returner Deltha O'Neal is already a legend. But DeSean Jackson combines both these skills in one superb package that by the end of this season will stand alone as the best ever.'
Other college football Internet blogs and websites feel Jackson is a top candidate in this year's Heisman race. The Heismanpundit.com said of Jackson, 'Cal's DeSean Jackson is the most exciting player in college football. He has a chance to make a Desmond Howard-like run at the Heisman. Fittingly, it is the 20th anniversary of another time a receiver won the Heisman (Tim Brown in 1987) and the 10th anniversary of the last time a non-running back or quarterback took home the trophy (Charles Woodson in 1997).'
Gridironation.com commented, 'The safe picks (for the 2007 Heisman) are USC QB John David Booty, Arkansas RB Darren McFadden, and Louisville QB Brian Brohm. This is the 'Outside the box' choice (DeSean Jackson) as the most exciting and dangerous player in college football next year.'
The 2007 season features six home games at Memorial Stadium, including the season opener against Tennessee on Sept. 1 and a battle with Pac-10 rival USC on Nov. 10.