Amarillo High’s Ivory Jackson and Canadian’s Chance Cook look to prove they have what it takes to transition from high school football to the ranks of division one football.
Both Jackson and Cook will represent the Texas Panhandle in the Big 12 with their commitments to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State University, respectively.
Jackson chose to take the 120 mile trip down I-27 to Lubbock to attend Texas Tech and turned down offers from Kansas State, Michigan, Kansas, North Texas and SMU. Picking up the 6’4, 270 lb., defensive tackle from an area high school was a big win for the Red Raiders, who will give Jackson every opportunity to see playing time this season.
In 2015, he was named the Defensive Player of the Year for his 67 tackles, four sacks and three fumble recoveries.
Jackson’s success on the field was due in part to his ability to stay at home and read the play. He’s a proven playmaker and excellent pass rusher, but will need to step up his game in order to keep pace with high powered offenses he will see on the Red Raider’s 2016 calendar.
If Jackson commits himself to spending time in the weight room, he will likely get the upper hand on the other recruits at his position.
The Red Raiders’ roster features defensive tackles Breiden Fehoko and Lonzell Gilmore and 2016 recruits Nick McCann, Mychealon Thomas and Joseph Wallace. Jackson has his work cut out for him if he hopes to step out on the turf at Jones Stadium in the Raider’s season opener versus Stephen F. Austin on September 3.
Heading to OSU with two state championships and 31 consecutive wins in high school under his belt, Cook’s experience while at Canadian will make the transition from 2A to the Big 12 a bit easier.
Cook was a skill player for the Wildcats in multiple positions, racking up 2,097 yards on 222 carries in 2015.
On defense, Cook wreaked havoc on opposing teams. He ended the season with 17 solo and 68 assisted tackles. At receiver, he hauled in 33 passes for 431 yards. No doubt a player who can adapt as needed, OSU has the 6′, 193 lb., freshman listed as a safety.
OSU went 10-3 in 2015 and ended their season with a 48-20 loss to Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl. The Cowboys return 16 key players with senior Jordan Sterns returning at free safety and sophomore Kenneth Edison-McGruder coming in behind Sterns.
With plenty of depth at free safety, Cook will spend his first year in Stillwater learning the program while looking for an opportunity to prove small town Texas high school football players can hang with the big boys.