Alabama State's Jackson becomes first
HBCU '06 NFL Draftee
April 29, 2006
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama State quarterback Tarvaris Jackson
had intended on watching both days of the 2006 National Football
League Draft at home with his family.
But that all changed Saturday evening when Jackson's name
was called as the selection of the Minnesota Vikings in the
second round of the NFL Draft, the 64th overall selection and
first HBCU product chosen. He was the fifth quarterback picked.
Now, his Sunday plans include an early morning flight to meet
his new employers.
"I was thinking that when you got drafted, you didn't
leave the next day. I thought you just showed up at mini camp," said
an elated Jackson Saturday night. "But I could've left
Jackson admitted his shock at being chosen at the end of the
second round by the Vikings, who made a trade with the Pittsburgh
Steelers to move up and nab him.
"I'm very shocked. Not by the team that drafted me but
by being picked in the second round. I was more focused on
the third round and even that was stretching it," said
Jackson, who followed Vince Young (Tennessee Titans/University
of Texas), Matt Leinart (Arizona Cardinals/Southern California),
Jay Cutler (Denver Broncos/Vanderbilt University) and Kellen
Clemens (New York Jets/University of Oregon) in the quarterback
While Jackson may have been caught off guard, Alabama State
head coach Charles Coe said he expected it, even hinting to
Jackson Friday night that he might not have to wait long to
hear his name called.
"I've talked to enough general managers and player-personnel
directors to know they wanted him. At first they were saying
the fourth round or maybe the third round," Coe said. "But
when they started working him out individually, his stock rose."
Jackson is the highest quarterback selected from Alabama State
and is only the third player selected in the second round,
joining defensive back Lester Simmons (Cleveland Browns, 1972),
defensive tackle Curtis Green (Detroit Lions, 1981) and linebacker
Eddie Robinson, Jr. (Houston Oilers, 1992). He is the first
Alabama State player drafted by the NFL since former wide receiver
and current coach Reggie Barlow was selected in the fourth
round in 1995.
"This was a great selection by the Vikings," Coe
said. "He's been a tremendous asset to not only Alabama
State University and the football program, but to the Southwestern
Athletic Conference and all HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges
and Universities). He'll be a tremendous quarterback at the
"He's grown tremendously as a player and a person. I'm
just glad I was able to play a significant part as his coach
at Alabama State."
During his three-year career at Alabama State, Jackson passed
for 7,849 yards and 67 touchdowns while rushing for 982 yards
and 11 scores. He led the Hornets to two Southwestern Athletic
Conference championship games, helping ASU win the title in
2004. He played in 36 games during that span, compiling a 24-12
Now, Jackson said he will begin preparing for his new career
as a Vikings quarterback. Brad Johnson is currently entrenched
as the starter but Jackson hopes it won't be long before he
is leading the team into battle.
"I just want to learn as much as possible. Brad Johnson
is a great quarterback and has won a Super Bowl," Jackson
said. "Coach Barlow has told me a lot about him. But I
just want to learn what I can before it's my time. I just want
to produce for the Minnesota Vikings."