Background: The son of the owner of an auto detailer business and retail associate, Jackson grew up as one of five kids in Media, Pennsylvania. A two-way player along the offensive and defensive fronts, Jackson was the linchpin in the trenches for the program. A standout career at Penncrest High School (PA), Jackson wanted to stay up north so his family and siblings could see his games. With that in mind, he decided to sign with Rutgers.
Enduring some of the most trying times of his playing career, he redshirted during his first season (2015). Following that point, he played in 12 games in a reserve role at guard. As a redshirt sophomore (2017), he would only start in five games of the six that he participated in –missing six games due to an undisclosed injury. Jackson would bounce back strongly the following season as he was voted a team captain prior to the season.
During the year, he recorded 11 starts at right guard. After only winning seven games in three seasons, he decided seek a new opportunity. Wanting to be a part of a winner and already having his undergraduate degree in criminology in-hand, he elected to use his final year of eligibility as a graduate transfer at Ohio State. As a member of the Buckeyes, he started all 14 games at left guard and went on to become a first-team All-Big Ten selection.
Scheme Fit: Versatile
Round Projection: 4th-Round
Inside Awareness: Because of his experience, Jackson has seen everything possible that defenses can throw at him. His headiness is often seen when picking up blitzes/stunts to his side. When feeling threatened or his gap is completely voided, he sets back vertically and continuously scans the unit until the most dangerous threats appear. Hardly ever caught out of position or chasing away moving loopers, he passes them off to his counterparts and anticipates outside threats to re-enter into his assigned gap.
Finishing: Already possessing light feet combined with heavy hands, it helps Jackson with finishing plays. Always having the mindset of the play isn’t over until the man across from him is in the ground, that demeanor carries over as a run blocker. There are multiple plays on film of where he goes the extra mile with finishing the opposition. An added bonus with his skill set, but the most impressive being his play patience, control, and known operating tempos. Jackson knows when to slow down or speed up in order to win on blocks.
Interior Versatility: Jackson has experience at all three interior spots. Playing each at a high level will enable confidence that he can play any three spots with success. While at those areas, he settled into both guard spots and looked more comfortable there compared to center. Being able to wear more hats will only boost his resume more. After being in a conference foes locker room, Jackson make the transition to the Buckeyes so easily. A situation that is accredited to his character and work ethic as new member of the program. There weren’t any rifts or know altercations while making the transitions and once seeing his habits, the team welcomed him as a starter.
Hand Accuracy: When striking to land his hands in target areas, there’s never really a sense of having a plan as to where to land them. Instead, Jackson simply hopes to land them on the body of defensive lineman. There isn’t much rhyme or reason behind where he places them and it results in him losing many leverage battles. Struggling with sticking on defenders, his inaccurate hands are an underlying reason behind the issue.
Lower Half Synchronization: Jackson often dances to two different beats, meaning that his upper and lower halves can often be on two polar opposite schedules. While he extends his arms to engage in a block, his lower body can be pointing in a completely different direction. Marrying up those two components would help him become more consistent as a run blocker.
Sky-High Pad Level: Throughout his career, Jackson has played with an alarmingly high pad level. There are instances of where he stands straight up and attempts to block that way. Bending at the knees and maintaining that positioning has remained a challenge for him and will be the biggest one for the team that takes a chance on him going forward
It’s rare to see offensive lineman transfer within the conference and go on to become a headliner of the their position group. That’s exactly what Jonah Jackson did in 2019. Exiting Rutgers and entering Columbus, he was a highly sought after target, but he was still forced to earn his keep and he did exactly that. Carrying over from the program, there are plenty of bad habits and tendencies associated with his game. Keeping his body in-sync and marrying the two parts together are the biggest area he must improve upon, but there will be plenty of interest in him as an early Day 3 selection who has the upside to be a depth piece early on into his career that may turn into a starter down the road.