Ask Donte Jackson what sport he isn’t good at it, and you may not be surprised at his response.
The answer, indubitably, is none.
LSU’s rising cornerback and return specialist has grabbed the attention of many for his expanded role in the secondary and on special teams this spring, which should come as quite the accomplishment considering he’s also a main contributor on the Tigers’ outdoor track team.
“When you play two sports, there’s never a day off,” Jackson laughed.
The New Orleans native was never hesitant about competing in both sports, despite how rare it is for athletes to do so, particularly in the SEC.
Jackson exuded confidence when explaining his rationale, which involved the type of mentality that helped him become a state championship-winning sprinter at Riverdale High School (Jefferson, La.) and now one of LSU’s most prominent football weapons.
“(Playing two sports) is something a lot of athletes want to do coming in, so I’m blessed to get a chance to do it and try it out as a freshman,” Jackson said.
“Balancing the two wasn’t the issue. I’m a workhorse. I like to work. Getting a lot of work in two different sports in more challenging mentally than it is physically … but you’ve got to be an athlete. I’ve been doing it my whole life. It’s fun and it’s different.”
Jackson finalized his decision to compete on the track team right after the Tigers’ romping of Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl last December.
He and coach Les Miles discussed it and eventually agreed upon it, and the coach has remained supportive throughout.
“He (Coach Miles) asked me about it during the season and what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know until after the bowl game,” Jackson explained. “I decided to give it a shot. Having these guys, these coaches over here supporting me has made it easier to make the transition.”
It’s no wonder the coaches support Jackson.
The cornerback claims that track has helped him on the gridiron, particularly as he prepares for a larger role in the LSU secondary.
“It helps a lot,” said Jackson. “For me, being a corner, it helps a lot with the quick-twitch. You’re competitive on track, so there’s being competitive. It helps being faster. It has helped me mostly with my explosiveness.”
As far as whether or not Jackson will get an opportunity to see any of his other SEC football brethren on the course remains to be seen.
There aren’t many that can compete in both sports, but for those that do, Jackson has issued a warning in advance.
“I wouldn’t want to run into me,” Jackson smiled.
And on the subject of racing a wide receiver: “Hopefully. They’re going to lose twice.”