6’0″, 180 pounds
Kenosha Bradford running back Vonte Jackson knows a thing or two about loaded backfields. The senior-to-be split carries with incoming Badger freshman Melvin Gordon last year, forming a 1-2 combo that accounted for almost 3,000 yards rushing. That experience will serve Jackson well when he joins Gordon and the rest of the Wisconsin running back stable in what should be a ridiculously deep and dynamic rushing attack in 2012.
Jackson, who was very popular on the Big Ten recruiting trail, received offers from Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern. Ohio State was reportedly interested in him as well. Once thought to be a Northwestern lean, Jackson announced his commitment to the Badgers in March on his Facebook page shortly after attending Wisconsin’s spring practice. “He’ll be the only true running back in the class,” according to Badger Nation Publisher Benjamin Worgull.
Jackson told UMGoBlog that he was looking for “academics, the opportunity to get on the field, a school that can win a championship and trust in the staff” when considering which school he’d like to attend. He carries a 3.9 core GPA and reportedly plans to major in the sciences at Wisconsin.
One of the top 2012 state prospects, Jackson rushed 70 times for 956 yards for an impressive 13.7-yard average last year as a junior. He scored 11 touchdowns.
“I’d say I’ve got good speed and use my hands well in the backfield,” Jackson told Badger Nation. “I can be elusive in the open field and I’m probably more of a speed back.
“I want to improve my yards after contact. I’d like to get stronger and be more physical and break away faster.”
With Gordon out of the picture at Bradford next year, Jackson’s carries will almost certainly increase. ESPN says he “could be an early sleeper at the running back position and should emerge as one of the Midwest’s best in 2012.” The site describes Jackson as “a very solid back who can hurt defenses inside or out” and adds that he “has good body composition and a sturdy frame that should only improve.”
He brings a physical aspect to the field too.
“Vonte Jackson doesn’t mind running over people even though he’s not the biggest running back in the world,” Mike Farrell, the lead recruiting analyst for Rivals.com, told the Journal-Sentinel recently.
The Bob Bostad recruit also competes in track, like his friend Gordon did, and runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and 4.36-second shuttle, according to Badger Nation. He benches 250 pounds, squats 405 pounds and has a 40-inch vertical jump.
Perhaps Jackson’s biggest flaw is his professional football rooting interests. He told UMGoBlog that he is a Chicago Bears fan because his dad grew up in Illinois and “converted” him. I’m sure Badger fans will be able to overlook this when he’s running over defenders at Camp Randall in 2012 though!