Rashawn Jackson, Quote Machine

Virginia fullback Rashawn Jackson, who is fond of writing “NEW JERU” on his gameday eye black, said before the 2009 season that he wasn’t “concerned that NFL teams have devalued fullbacks because [he was] confident Groh can use his NFL influence to promote [his] versatility.”  This week, he reflected on the “opportunities to showcase that this season, playing H-back and picking up the blitzes, and I think that was beneficial in evaluating my film and seeing they have a complete-package player.”

Jackson, who injured his hamstring, will attend a family barbeque during day three of draft because he is nervous about where he might be selected.  Despite the fact that he’s being projected to go in the 4th round at best, he has lofty goals for his career:

“My whole goal is to get in the league and have people re-think their perspective of what a fullback is.  Things change. Toyotas don’t look the same way they looked in 1992. So I figured, hey, why can’t fullbacks change and do the same? So me and other fullbacks out there can reconstruct the position.”

If you think the Toyota metaphor came out of the blue, you haven’t been listening to Mr. Jackson, who once performed a 360-degree dunk in a profanity-filled pickup game with former Virginia HC Al Groh in attendance.  Back in October, he offered this gem when describing the short-term focus the Cavaliers (then 2-0 in the ACC) had and their unwillingness to look ahead at future games on the schedule:

“When a businessman decides to start a business, he doesn’t automatically get an accountant and start estimating he’ll make upper-end millions or upper-end billions of dollars. You have to start somewhere. You have to have good credit. You have to start with the little things and pay attention to the small details. When you start looking to the future, your goals start to get out of focus and you look past what’s in the present. That’s what really gets you in trouble. We can’t afford to do that.”

Less than a month later, after losing at home to Duke amid boos from a meager crowd, Jackson channeled his inner Bill Parcells… metaphorically speaking:

“You are what you are. When you’re born, your mom either has a boy or a girl, you know? There’s no in between… Of course [there are exceptions], but how many Jamie Lees are there?”

Jackson went on to show compassion for true fans of his 3-5 squad:

“The fans that really stuck out to me were the ones screaming, ‘Rashawn! UVa! Go Hoos!’ Those were the guys that made this loss even worse, since they hung in there. I appreciate those fans, I appreciate that effort and I appreciate those people. They stayed to the end of the game, and I’m just disappointed we couldn’t help their weekend go a little more smoothly. Hopefully they aren’t getting bugged about it at work on Monday. I’m sure some of them might, and that’s even more disappointing.”

On the topic of fans, he also rubbed some the wrong way when he said “Virginia isn’t USC, Michigan, Tennessee or Virginia Tech. The fans here aren’t as patient. It’s just human nature sometimes when things aren’t going well to, you know, I don’t want to say tuck your tail, but just to turn your back.“  During his career at said program with an inpatient fanbase, Jackson:

  • was arrested on felony counts of grand larceny and breaking and entering stemming from dorm break-in and theft of an Xbox 360 (ironic?)
  • coined a new sports cliché: “Our defense is playing well. Offensively we’re not taking advantage of the opportunities we have. I feel like once we tie those knots we’ll be fine.”
  • admitted one of his favorite NFL players growing up was former 49er “Merten Hanks because he was that safety that used to do the headless chicken dance that was so funny”
  • saw the felony charges dropped after over a year in the judicial system
  • used a baseball analogy (a Groh-ism) to describe the at-the-time spread offense: “We may not hit a home run every play, but three plays of four yards gets you a first down. That’s all that matters.”

 Back to the present, and this week Jackson – who DJ’s events with his father back in New Jersey – offered a prediction for the future:

 “I don’t care if I am in the first round or if I’m a free agent. I just think I deserve a shot. I will go into someone’s camp and win a starting job. I play because I love it. I am grateful to be this close to this chance. I understand I won’t be the best player on the field in the NFL. But I know I will be an emotional leader for my team and an important part for my team and for the league. [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell does not know me now — but he will.”

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