Santana Jackson is one of the best players from the Jacksonville, FL area in the Class of 2021.
The 5-foot-11, 135 pound Jackson, who currently attends Jean Ribault High School, is a quarterback who was selected to two all-star games for Pop Warner.
Jackson has previously played for Ribault Middle, the Cyaa Wolverines and Lavilla Saints.
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Jackson is now the starting JV quarterback for Ribault High. His coach at Ribault Middle, Justin Moss, was familiar with Jackson’s talents dating back to their battles in Pop Warner beginning four years ago.
Jackson tossed a pretty touchdown pass to Vincent Bailey recently in a 28-0 shutout vs. First Coast.
Jackson reflected on how the victory fueled him to maintain his desire to continue to get better.
“It was fun because it was my first time playing [high] school ball and I did a good job,” Jackson said. “So that made me say to myself I can do better and make it somewhere if I work on things I needed help with.”
While in Pop Warner, Jackson flexed his moxie by leading his team to victory when pressed into action.
“When I played Pop Warner we had a playoff game and I was the reason we won it,” Jackson said. “It was my favorite memory because our starting quarterback got hurt and I had to step up and throw the game winning touchdown pass.”
Moss raves about the innate abilities that Jackson demonstrates.
“The kid is a natural passer. He has a nice, tightly-thrown ball,” Moss said. “He's blessed with a great arm and is open to learning about what it takes to be a great quarterback.”
Jackson is also willing to put in the time and energy to fine-tune his craft.
“He's constantly prepping with trainers and receivers to have timing, and technique down packed,” Moss said. “We displayed visuals including cones and receivers which were drills that made him roll out and adjust to targets as well as position himself to make better throws.”
Jackson’s mindset on each play is to “at least get a first down or 5 yards or more.”
Jackson patterns his style of play after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston.
“I look up to him because I feel as though we play like each other,” Jackson said. “I believe when I make it I’m going to play just like him but better.”
Quarterback is one of the most essential positions on the field and Jackson has evolved in becoming a multifaceted leader. Whereas he was once quiet, Jackson now isn’t afraid to speak up whenever it’s necessary.
“He's gotten better with the leadership role. Santana was very shy and laid back. He leads by making plays on the field,” Moss said. “He's more vocal. At times the "Kid"'shows when the athletes are getting off task, and Santana will make his presence by saying something to all of them, so the focus level of the team can resume in an organized matter.”
Jackson explains how he takes his role as a leader seriously both on and off the field.
“I push the offense to work hard every practice,” Jackson said. “If they do something wrong I tell them what they did wrong and they go back and do it right. In the classroom I make sure they’re doing their work when I have classes with them.”
Moss compares Jackson’s style of play to a former national championship quarterback.
“He reminds me of AJ McCarron back in his Alabama days,” Moss said. “I say that because he's not the flashiest quarterback, but he knows what it takes to win ball games and will do all and more to make sure he and his troops come out on top.”
Moss recalls a moment that fortified Jackson’s elite football IQ.
“The big play I remember from him was against Kirby Smith in overtime. It was 4th and 15 with a score of 6-6. We were set up in a pro formation with one of our primary targets from receiver in the backfield to throw the defense for a loop,” Moss said. “With the threat of the wide receiver doing a swing pass out of the backfield, it drew the cornerbacks and safeties attention, leaving the tight end (Montea Jackson) in the corner of the end zone for a wide open touchdown. It was a great read from Santana. It's like he read the defense prior to the snap. It was a great win for the team.”
Jackson has no preference in terms of which college he’d like to attend, so long as he’s able to make a contribution to the team and give him a chance for future success.
“It really doesn't matter what college I play at along as it's a D1 college,” Jackson said. “Because when I make it to college I want to then become an NFL player after.”
Jackson has the proper mindset to continue to evolve as a player.
“He's a workaholic. He wants to learn and get better. He's willing and eager to do whatever to make it better. He's very grateful and appreciates anything he can benefit from while perfecting his craft,” Moss said. “He reads and remembering defensive schemes well. He has a great sense of recognition. Quick and easy is his game. He's the quarterback that trusts the fact that each play is ran to set up the next one.”
Moss cited the vital areas of improvement for Jackson.
“Footwork and speed enhancement would do his game justice. Speed drills and and cones could assist with bettering those aspects of his game,” Moss said. “The fact that the games gets faster at all levels, he most definitely need to be able to run past those defensive ends and dance on those linebackers to dodge a big hit.”
Moss is stoked for what he envisions as a bright future for the emerging signal caller.
“I can see Santana playing on Saturdays, getting better and smarter which could possibly open an avenue to playing on Sundays,” Moss said. “The fact that he intakes information with appreciation from all who teaches will put him in a good position to display and implement it, to make a way for he and his talents.”
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