Aug. 16, 2007
BERKELEY - ESPN The Magazine has selected California junior wide receiver DeSean Jackson to be on one of its regional covers for its College Football Preview issue, currently available on newstands. Jackson is the first Golden Bear to be featured on the cover of the magazine.
ESPN also video-taped Jackson's photo shoot at Long Beach Poly High School, his alma mater, in July and produced a feature for ESPN.com. The video can be seen by clicking here.
Jackson, who is the subject of a full-length feature by ESPN's Bruce Feldman, titled "Born Identity," is one of three cover subjects based on region for its preview issue. Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden adorn the other covers.
A preseason All-American by numerous publications as both a receiver and a punt returner, Jackson earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors at both positions in 2006. He was a consensus first-team All-America punt returner and also captured the inaugural Randy Moss Award as the top return man in the nation after leading the country with 18.2 yards per punt return. He ranked second in the Pac-10 with nine receiving touchdowns, and set school and Pac-10 records for season (4) and career punt return TDs (5) with a 95-yarder against Arizona. Jackson had four 100-yard receiving games and registered 28 plays of 20 or more yards.
Jackson leads a host of star performers for the Golden Bears, who open the 2007 campaign on Sept. 1 at home against Tennessee. That game, as well as the showdown with Pac-10 rival USC on Nov. 10, is virtually sold out - however, fans can still assure themselves a seat at both games by purchasing season tickets. Ticket information is available by visiting www.CalBears.com or by calling 1-800-GO-BEARS. Single-game tickets remain available for the remainder of the Cal schedule, except the road game at Stanford.
In addition to the ESPN The Magazine feature, Jackson has been highlighted by the Contra Costa Times, described thusly by writer Eric Gilmore, "When it comes to Jackson, it's hard to find a better metaphor than lightning. Jackson is one of college football's fastest, quickest and most electric players, a big-play dynamo with 21 scores in just 24 career games, a Pac-10 record five via punt return." The lightning reference is to Cal's promotional website for the junior, www.The1ToWatch.com.
In Sports Illustrated's College Football Preview issue, Jackson is the focus of the Cal preview as the publication rates the Golden Bears No. 20 in the nation.
The Washington Post is also among the host of publications focusing on Jackson's unique skills as its article "Jackson Goes for Big Catch" includes the line "One of the nation's most dynamic players, Jackson blends speed and athleticism to become a scoring threat almost every time he touches the ball. Elite playmakers on the West Coast have recently starred at Southern California, but this season Jackson commands the spotlight."
ESPN senior writer Ivan Maisel penned, "Every once in a while, the recruiting guys hit the bull's-eye. They said three years ago that Jackson would be a game breaker, and he proved them right as a sophomore last season, averaging 18 yards on his 59 receptions and returning four punts for touchdowns," as he named Cal's standout to the ESPN.com Preseason All-America squad.
While Jackson has received the bulk of the attention and accolades, Cal's stable of standouts has been a key to his success. Quarterback Nate Longshore has the luxury of not only Jackson, but also senior wideouts Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan. Tight end Craig Stevens is considered a top candidate for the Mackey Award and running back Justin Forsett is poised for a break-out year. An experienced offensive line led by All-American center Alex Mack gives all of the offensive players more opportunities to shine. And the Golden Bear defense is an under-rated corps of talented athletes, including junior Butkus Award candidate Zack Follett at linebacker.