He found that there was no way for him to succeed in the state of Michigan. In Syracuse, he has followed a better path since enrolling in January 2018. After a year in limbo – the phase in which Jackson was transferred – his decision has paid off. In his first game for SU, he experienced an acrobatic touchdown victory in the Orange victory at Camping World Bowl v West Virginia.
"I had the belief that I would be more focused on my arrival," Jackson said. "I would not be too close at home, I would not want to call Mom every day, something like that, I would have to grow up and mature as a man, and I think I did that really well."
The state of Michigan was one natural landing pad for Jackson, who had finished high school. Jackson played quarterback at West Bloomfield (Michigan) High School in a suburb of Detroit ̵
But Jackson had always succumbed to the Spartans. He watched as the former MSU players Plaxico Burress, Aaron Burbridge and Tony Lippett grew up and met the latter two playing football in the Greater Detroit High School area. Jackson was more than enthusiastic about the work of the Spartans, as portrayed under head coach Mark Dantonio.
The aspiring senior made an outstanding showing and starred in the 2015 edition of the annual Sound Mind Sound Body football camp. Speaking at the camp, Dantonio told more than a thousand high school athletes, "You want to be the breadwinner, you want to be the man," a story in the Detroit Free Press said.
Dantonio spoke to Jackson and his father, Obbie, about the camp and offered a gray shirt to continue playing. The next day MSU offered a scholarship and Jackson signed up 24 hours later.
The quarterback catcher surpassed the expectations of his first season for the Spartans by only cracking the rotation largely of the upper class, finishing with five receptions, 89 meters and a touchdown. With the departure of three of MSU's top four passers-by, Jackson should have been one of the best return options for the Spartans.
The Spartans then lost the fourth recipient of this group and Jackson saw how quickly circumstances could change. In January 2017, newly arrived recipient Donnie Corley, along with fellow students Josh King and Demetric Vance, was suspended and eventually released from the team in June 2017 for alleged sexual assault. It was shocking for Jackson to see that three close friends were removed within a few months.
"I definitely realize how life can change so fast," Jackson said. "And it got me ready to make the decision to leave. I think I have matured from this situation.
Even though the MSU's top four receivers were removed from 2016, Jackson stagnated in 2017, taking just seven passes more than the year before for a total of 143 yards. He never got to the end zone and three real newbies had more receptions for more yards.
The MSU coaching staff did not suit Jackson, he said. Orders were given without explanation and, even if well intentioned, were wrongly rubbed. Although the relationship is bad, Jackson does not hold any ill-will toward the state of Michigan.
"It's more Sabaean, businesslike, and I do not think everyone liked what he had to say about things," said Jackson Dantonio and the culture in Michigan State.
Neither Dantonio nor the former receiver coach Terrence Samuel were provided by Michigan State for interviews on this story.
Jackson's high school coach Bellamy received a call from MSU's coaching staff that the recipient was transferred. The coach turned to Jackson to find out what was going on. Then he called college coaches. One of them was Vinson Reynolds, Syracuse's defensive coach, who had previously brought Jackson's older brother to West Michigan. Bellamy told Reynolds that Jackson was interested in SU.
Bellamy then made a round with Evan Foster, Jackson's high school teammate and current SU security, and asked if Syracuse could be a good place for Jackson.