Former LHS QB ready to make impact at Northern Colorado
Not long before the 45th Shrine Bowl, former Lawrence High quarterback Dante Jackson was approached by his college coaches.
The Northern Colorado coaching staff requested that Jackson sit out the annual event in order to protect himself from any possible injury. Jackson was looking forward to playing in the game, but understood the bigger picture was more important for his football career.
“Being nominated for the Shrine Bowl was a great feeling,” Jackson said. “I’ve seen a lot of my friends from past years get nominated. It was a really good feeling to follow in their footsteps. As my coach said, he didn’t want to risk any injury before fall camp because I have a chance to play.”
Jackson’s playmaking ability could have had a large impact on the game, though the East team took care of business without him by claiming a 21-14 win over the West team. It marked the third time in the last four years that the East team has been victorious.
But Jackson is expected to have a bigger impact at Northern Colorado during his freshman season.
Jackson is making the transition back to receiver at the collegiate level after playing quarterback over the last two seasons for the Lions. He served as a receiver and cornerback during his sophomore season at LHS. As a result, Jackson has had a smooth transition to the new role.
“I enjoy people thinking they can guard me, and then I show them I’m not just a little, small kid,” Jackson said. “I love QB for sure, but I love wide receiver. That is what I always wanted to play.”
Jackson has bulked up over the summer, adding 10 pounds to his 5-foot-8 frame.
The added muscle should help Jackson, as he prepares to be heavily involved in special teams. Jackson expects to be a candidate to return kickoffs and punts this season after demonstrating the ability to make plays in high school.
As a senior, Jackson earned co-Most Valuable Player honors in the Sunflower League. He led the Lions to a 5-5 record, recording 1,215 rushing yards and 974 passing yards with a combined 25 touchdowns (12 rushing, 13 passing).
“The coaches want to wait to put something on it until fall camp,” Jackson said. “The coaches were saying that they could use me on kick return and punt return, because we lost two fly guys. They are just people that get the ball and making things happen, so they are hoping that I can do that.”
Despite being in another state, Jackson also plans to monitor how his former team is doing this season under first-year head coach Steve Rampy.
Jackson remains close friends with senior Garrett Romero, who is competing for a chance to be the team’s starting quarterback. Romero is actually battling for the position with sophomore Tre’ Jackson, who is the younger brother of Dante Jackson.
“I’m still very confident in that team,” Jackson said. “They are just a bunch of hard workers. Garrett Romero was my backup last year and he knows a lot about the game. I think he knows more than I did. My little brother is fighting for that spot and I want to see him succeed.”