July 23, 2007
The Houston Chronicle tabbed Ian Campbell as its Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year last season, but some close to Kansas State don't even consider Campbell the best defender on the Wildcats' roster. That's not to say that Campbell wasn't deserving of such recognition, but it was K-State's other starting defensive end, Rob Jackson, who it was hard to take your eyes off of at season's end.
Jackson's 2006 season stats, 36 tackles with 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss, are nothing out of the ordinary. What was special was Jackson's improvement over the course of the season. A junior college transfer, the 6-foot-4, 253-pounder got better by the week and could make a huge jump with a full year under his belt heading into 2007.
A starter in 12 of 13 games Jackson really started to come on in K-State's final eight games, a stretch that consisted of every Big 12 game except for Baylor and included the Texas Bowl against Rutgers. In those eight games Jackson racked up 29 stops and four sacks. Two of those sacks came in K-State's biggest win, a 45-42 upset of Texas in Manhattan.
Sometimes what Jackson didn't do was as impressive as what he did do. Despite his inexperience at the major college level Jackson could always be counted on to carry out his responsibility, and one could rarely catch him out of position.
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