By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (September 20, 2017) — Basil Jackson has re-established his personal record for tackles in a game each of the past two weeks, including 17 to go with a fumble recovery amidst all the craziness that produced a 30-24 Tarleton State win last Saturday at Angelo State.
The senior from Arlington – by way of Trinity Valley Community College in Athens – had the second most tackles in a Division II game nationwide last week, is second nationally in total tackles with 45 and is third in across the division with 15.0 tackles per game. Jackson needs to average 15.45 tackles over the 11-game season to break the Tarleton single-season record of 170 total tackles, held since 1978 by legendary Tally Neal who recently met Jackson while in town having his #34 jersey retired as part of the 40th reunion of the 1977 Texan football team.
Tarleton had a special linebacker leading that group, which won the school’s first conference title as a senior college. They have special linebacker leading this team, too. Basil Jackson is tackling everything in sight these days, but he managed to leave me upright during the following Q&A. I guess he needed me in one piece to get it published.
Come watch the Texans and Jackson at 7 p.m. Saturday against West Texas A&M at Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium. First, read and enjoy:
Q) You seemed a little nervous about inheriting that position from All-American Cody Burtscher whose career ended last season, but you haven’t looked nervous in averaging 15.0 tackles per game. What attributes to the level of play we are seeing from you?
A) First and foremost, I’d say that having knee surgery in the spring was what the majority of my nerves were about. Not knowing if I’d be as explosive as I was before was a scary unknown but It’s a testament to the rehab program that my head athletic trainer Luke Montgomery put together for me and my faith in Jesus Christ that everything would work itself out and I’d be back in time. Cody is a great linebacker, he laid the blueprint for me moving forward, so watching film of last year’s games when I was in rehab knowing I was coming back to play his spot helped tremendously.
I’m so blessed to have the defensive line that I have. They are selfless dudes, and my coaching staff works extremely hard week in and week out to put us all in positions to be successful.
Q) Seventeen tackles, second most in the nation last weekend, and 45 total tackles, second in the nation trough 3 weeks of the season. Is there a goal, a number, you shoot for there?
A) A 100 tackle season for a linebacker is a solid season, but however many tackles I need each week for us to get a win is usually what I’m shooting for week to week. I am generally more focused on cleaning up the tackles I missed from the previous week rather than dwelling on the ones that I made.
Q) I know the ASU game was very much atypical with a team allowing 545 yards, gaining less than 300 but winning because of two scoop and scores in one quarter, two interceptions and a blocked punt the next and then a goal line stand early in the fourth. Where does that game rank among the wildest ones you have ever been a part of regardless if its high school, junior college or Division II?
A) In junior college we dominated that conference, but in the LSC there’s so much competition so that game may have been the wildest to date in my mind. We took Midwestern and Kingsville down to the wire last year but obviously those games didn’t end how we wanted them to so I’d definitely say this game on the road was a great team win. We got out relatively healthy so that’s always a plus.
Q) When ASU finally got back within six, your offense wen out there and just melted away the final seven minutes of the game. As a defensive player, what was that like to watch and how happy were you to avoid having to chase that no-huddle hurry-up around one last time?
A) We were standing on the benches watching and supporting our offense! That last series was unfolding in slow motion, but i knew defensively if they didn’t score again we were gonna win that game because our offense was going to take care of the ball.
Q) West Texas A&M -from an offensive standpoint, of course, since that’s what you study – where do the Buffs rank compared to the teams you guys have seen already, and what do you expect from them come Saturday?
A) West Texas is an interesting team, you don’t go out and just beat them on talent alone. They’re well coached I’m looking forward to playing them because they’re one of the best teams in the LSC every year. I know they’re going to come in and try to run the ball. I’d say that they are certainly one of the better teams we’ll see all year.
Q) A lot of people, I’m sure, don’t realize you are a commissioner’s honor role guy and you have already earned your bachelor’s degree. What’s next for Basil Jackson? Coaching career? Suit and tie somewhere? What’s the plan after your playing days are complete?
A) I want to ride off into the sunset. I think when I’m done with the game, I’m done. I’m not quite sure what that feels like right now, I’ve been playing football since I was 7 – the game has taught me so much. I like to take things one day at a time, but I’d say that law school or seminary are tied for first place right now. Next would be going on a mission trip to a third-world country and serving for a year or two so I can grow up a little bit more. I plan to open up my own Christian mentoring program similar to the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club someday. Altogether, I’d say that some type of career in ministry is where Ill end up. Something where I can be the person I needed when I was younger.
Q) Alright, fill in the blank for me and we’re done. The best thing about being football player at Tarleton State University is __________________?
A) The best thing about being a football player at Tarleton State University is rapping, laughing, then sleeping on the bus ride back after a win.