Moultrie Observer

Local Sports

February 4, 2014

Shoulder woes apparently end Jackson's playing career

MOULTRIE — This time last year, Colquitt County’s Octavius Jackson was preparing to sign a letter of intent with the University of Florida to begin what he hoped would be a four-year career as an offensive lineman with the Gators.

Surgery on his shoulder on Jan. 8 has ended those aspirations, but the two-year starting left tackle for the Packers football team plans to remain with the Gators as a student assistant to as much as he can so that at some point he can get into coaching.

He said he will remain on scholarship at Florida and will continue to work on receiving his business degree.

The 6-foot-4, 304-pounder was an All-State selection as a senior for the Packers and actually missed last year’s signing ceremony at Colquitt County High because he was on his way back from Austin, Texas, where he played in the International Bowl.

Jackson had surgery on the labrum before his senior season at Colquitt County, and reinjured it during a practice during last season.

Jackson had dressed with the team for all but two games and would have been red-shirted. When it was determined he would be unable to continue to play, facing the end of his career was difficult to deal with, Jackson said on Tuesday.

“Yes, I really wanted to have an impact on this program and the school,” he said. “But I’m getting through it.”

Jackson said a number of his coaches have been especially inspirational to him, including Packers head coach Rush Propst.

“He’s been like a father to me,” Jackson said.

He also named Colquitt County offensive line coach Joey Bennett, Florida head coach Will Muschamp, Florida running backs coach Brian White and former Gators offensive line coach Tim Davis as being positive influences on him.

“Coach Davis really developed me quickly,” Jackson said.

Propst said he expected Jackson to have a fine career at Florida.

“I hate it for the young man,” Propst said. “We tried everything we could for him.”

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