One on One with Mateo Jackson; Youth Athlete Turned College Recruit

Mateo Jackson is one of Richmond, Virginia's top defensive players. At 6'2, 220lbs, with a GPA of 3.5, he was one of the area's top recruits.

His senior year he recorded 98 tackles, 9 tackles for losses, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 12 pass break ups, 5 interceptions, and 1 pick six. He was named 1st Team All-State, 1st Team All-Metro, All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-Region, Class 5 Region B Defensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-804, All-804 Most Valuable Player, and All-804 Defensive Player of the Year.

He had several offers including Villanova, Navy, Cincinnati as well as Dartmouth, Ivy League member.

And he, like so many others, began as a youth athlete with big dreams.

I had the privilege of interviewing Mateo just days after National Signing Day, and his commitment to James Madison University.

How old were you when you began playing football?

Jackson: Seven

What position did you start out playing?

Jackson: Quarterback and linebacker

What position do you play now?

Jackson: Middle linebacker

What do you enjoy most about playing football?

Jackson: Just being able to go out and have fun every time I play. You build friendships and bonds with a lot of your teammates.

What is your least favorite part?

Jackson: Probably two-a-days because it's usually really hot and they're early in the morning.

What is the best piece of advice a coach has ever given you?

Jackson: Patience and hard work. Those might sound a little cliché, but those two are probably what got me to the point where I'm at today.

What advice would you give to those young athletes hoping to follow in your footsteps one day?

Jackson: I would just say again to work as hard as possible, both in the classroom and on the field. And to surround yourself with people that have the same goals and aspirations as you do.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Jackson: Graduating and earning my degree in whatever I pursue. Possibly preparing myself for the next level or putting my degree to use in the work field.

Mamas, I hope you share this interview with your young athletes, regardless of the sport they play.

Let them know that they too, can be like Mateo! While I obviously can't promise that they'll end up playing at the next level like him, I can promise this. They can have patience like him, they can work hard like him, they can surround themselves with people who have the same goals and aspirations like him.

Good luck at JMU, Mateo! This Sports Mama will definitely be rooting for you.