The 2008 recruiting class was among one of the best the University of Alabama had ever seen. It included all-star wide receiver Julio Jones, Mark Barron who led the Tide in interceptions this past season, Terrence "Mount" Cody, Marcel Dareus who was the defensive MVP of the national championship, Robby Green, Don'ta Hightower who will be the future for the Tide linebacker-wise, and Heisman-winning running back Mark Ingram. Many more were included in the class, and one of those was quarterback Star Jackson.
Jackson, a four-star quarterback according to Rivals.com, came out of Lake Worth, Florida. His ability to throw out of the pocket and his bullet passes had recruiting scouts drooling.
He had official offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and UCF—all great schools—but he committed to the Tide early and held on to sign his letter of intent on signing day to become the official quarterback of the Tide's fantastic 2008 recruiting class.
It's hard to believe someone that weighed in at 186 pounds and 6'3" could be considered a pro-style quarterback. According to Rivals.com, Jackson was No. 5 in his position per the rankings. Alabama fans everywhere couldn't wait for the arrival of this recruiting class. They had big hopes and dreams for Jackson, but as fans found out, those stars were a little too hard to reach.
Tide fans got their first glimpse of Jackson in the 2009 A-Day game. All-in-all, he played quite well for someone with little experience on a college field. Throughout the 2009 season, Jackson took many snaps, most of them being just simple hand-offs to his running backs. There were very few times when a play called for Jackson to throw the ball.
The Tennessee-Chattanooga game was a different story.
After an early lead against a much weaker opponent, Nick Saban put his second string in. One of those second stringers was fan favorite Star Jackson. The much anticipated passing game of Jackson had finally come—only to lead to much disappointment. Jackson got flustered in the pocket, forcing bad passes. When Jackson was not being flustered, he was throwing balls faster than bullets on the field. When he attempted to use his legs, which fans also wanted to see, he just got sacked or gained one or two yards.
Now, it's ok for a quarterback to have a bad game—especially considering that this was Jackson's first true test on a college field. I believe this game killed Jackson. It brought him down, and as the season progressed, Jackson's practice game got sloppy.
So as the time came around for the national championship and rumors floated around of Greg McElroy's rib injury, of course, those rumors turned out to be true. But prior to the game, more rumors developed saying if McElroy got hurt, they were taking AJ McCarron's red shirt away and letting him play the rest of the game.
Of course, this hurt the feelings of huge Jackson fans. So whenever such a rumor was heard, fans added that if Alabama achieved a huge lead, it would be Jackson going in— not AJ. Was there any truth to these rumors? No one will ever know because McElroy played the whole game. Honestly, I believe there was truth to that rumor, and that's what makes it hard to believe that such an anticipated star could go down like this.
Some have already heard the rumors of McCarron giving McElroy a run for his money. Well, that may be true, but it'll never happen. McElroy will start next season. But did you catch that? No, that was not a typo. I said AJ McCarron is giving McElroy a run for his money—not Star Jackson.
Rankings-wise, Jackson and McCarron are almost twins coming out of high school. Stepping onto the college field, however, they couldn't be more opposite. Jackson is a scrambling quarterback with a good arm but no control. McCarron is a pocket passer with much control.
So now, people are saying, ok so what, Jackson will back up McCarron. I am not so sure of that either. Newly recruited quarterback Phillip Sims is now in the picture. He grew up in the spread offense but believes he can adjust quickly to what Jim McElwain has at the University of Alabama. He is probably one of the most accurate out of the whole bunch. On the ESPN recruiting games, Sims won the competition for most accurate quarterback. This competition included many great quarterbacks like Joe Montana's son, Nick.
So, is there any hope at all for Star Jackson?
I don't believe so, but if there is, he is going to have to prove many doubters wrong. Where will he go? Well, he got a national championship ring. He will probably go to Jacksonville State, where former LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux is right now. He will be on the team for the 2010 season, but it looks like we are going to have to say goodbye to our fallen star.