HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – After several months without football, Organized Team Activities in the NFL are characterized by new faces on the practice field. Like any rookie, Texans undrafted rookie wide receiver Jerrell Jackson has always dreamed of playing in the NFL. But as the Houston Oilers tattoos on his arms show, Jackson’s relationship with the Houston Texans is anything but skin deep.
“Every time Houston called me my eyes lit up,” Jackson said. “I always watched them and rooted for them… and it just so happened that [Houston] was the team that wanted me the most.”
A graduate of Jefferson Davis High School in Houston’s Northside Village, Jackson played safety in high school and made the transition to wide receiver while in college at the University of Missouri. That transition trained him to be a physical receiver, and he developed a propensity for blocking that makes him compatible with the Texans offense. A team captain during his senior years in both high school and college, Jackson had a productive career at Missouri with 113 receptions for 1,434 yards and six touchdowns as well as two rushing touchdowns over 49 games but received little attention as an NFL prospect.
Jackson however, is no stranger to skepticism.
“I’ve been doubted my entire life,” Jackson said. “Going to high school nobody knew who I was, little scrawny person coming in trying to play football ended up being team captain… only one offer going into college… Nobody knew who I was but I went in and played as a true freshman, senior year became a team captain. I’m back here again as a free agent and it’s back to the same story so I just like proving people wrong that doubt me.”
Jackson was never able to attend a Texans game growing up in Houston. The first time he ever set foot in Reliant Stadium was when Missouri played Navy in the 2009 Texas Bowl.
Now he is part of the Texans’ competitive young receiver corps that includes draft picks DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin as well as returning Texans Lester Jean, Jeff Maehl, Trindon Holliday, Juaquin Iglesias and rookie undrafted free agent Mario Louis. All are fighting for roster spots behind veterans Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter.
In the face of such strong competition, Jackson accepts his unrecognized status and focuses on maintaining his strong work ethic and improving every day on the field. He believes that attention to detail is the most important thing to improving every day as an NFL receiver.
The youngest of four children, Jackson is motivated by the support of his family.
“They’re all proud of me and they can’t wait to see me out there on the field … They call me every day telling me how proud they are of me and it’s just an unbelievable moment.”