BATON ROUGE, La. — Donte Jackson is speeding his way to the NFL draft.
The LSU junior cornerback announced that he is bypassing his final year in college on Tuesday evening. The Tigers have to replace Jackson and counterpart Kevin Toliver in their defensive backfield next season, but it’s a move that coach Ed Orgeron has been anticipating since October.
— Donte Action Jackson (@_DJack01) January 9, 2018
“There is nothing that compares to the feeling a player gets when he runs out of the tunnel on game day at Tiger Stadium,” Jackson wrote in his Twitter post. “The excitement and the roar of the fans cannot be equaled anywhere. I will always be a Tiger, and I promise I will return to campus to complete my education and earn my college degree.”
Jackson will be one of the fastest players scouted at the NFL combine, if not the very fastest. He clocked a 10.22-second 100-meter dash as a member of the LSU track team last spring, and has also posted a 6.63-second 60-yard dash during the indoor track season.
Jackson had 11 pass defenses and 10 pass breakups in 2017 and was named second-team All-SEC by the league’s coaches. Jackson also had 49 tackles (3.5 for loss) and an interception.
His final play with the Tigers likely will be one he’d like to forget, though — Notre Dame’s Miles Boykin made an improbable one-handed grab over Jackson before escaping him for a 55-yard touchdown that lifted the Fighting Irish to a 21-17 win in the Citrus Bowl.
Jackson is the fourth LSU junior to declare early for the 2018 draft. He joins Toliver, outside linebacker Arden Key and tackle Toby Weathersby in entering the draft. That quartet is expected to be joined by running back Derrius Guice, who is a projected first-round pick.