DeSean Jackson # WR
Height: 5-10 Weight: 175 Age: 30
Born: 12/1/1986 Long Beach , CA
Experience: 10th season
High School: Long Beach Polytechnic HS [CA]
Selected By: Philadelphia Eagles
Pick (Overall): 18 (49)
DeSean Jackson declared for the 2008 NFL Draft on January 15, and it's safe to assume the only team in the Pac-10 Conference disappointed to see him go is Cal.
In three seasons at the university, the talented athlete terrorized his opponent every time he touched the ball -- as a receiver, punt returner and even on the occasional running play -- finding the end zone 29 times in 36 games.
Jackson almost didn't make it to California. He seriously considered enrolling at Southern California instead, but a late face-to-face meeting between the former Long Beach Poly High star and Bears head coach Jeff Tedford sealed the deal. Their extremely close relationship would later make Jackson's most difficult decision -- to leave school for the NFL, even harder to make, but the coach is convinced that his star pupil is ready to star at the next level.
At Long Beach Poly High School, Jackson was considered one the premier wide receivers in the nation. The Parade Magazine All-American was named the 2004 Glenn Davis Award winner by the Los Angeles Times as Southern California's Player of the Year and was a two-time member of the famed Long Beach Press-Telegram "Best in the West" first team.
ESPN.com's Tom Lemming rated Jackson as the fourth-best wide receiver in the country, Prep Star selected him an All-American and a member of its Dream Team Top 100 players, and Calhisports.com voted him the 2004 Mr. Football State Player of the Year. Super Prep ranked him 21st in its Elite 50 players in the nation and the fourth-best player in the state of California. Rivals.com rated him the third-best player in the Golden State area.
Jackson was Most Valuable Player of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, as he had seven receptions for 141 yards and passed for a 45-yard touchdown in leading the West squad to a 35-3 victory in a game that featured 80 of the nation's top players. He also sparkled in the Cali-Florida Bowl game, posting five catches for 145 yards and one score.
At Long Beach Poly, Jackson flagged down 60 passes for 1,075 yards for the CIF Southern Section championship team. He scored 15 touchdowns, eight of which covered at least 60 yards, including two on punt returns. In the CIF title game, he was a last-minute replacement on defense and responded with two interceptions, one of which he returned 68 yards for a touchdown to help fuel Long Beach Poly's 21-6 victory over Los Alamitos High. As a junior, he hunted down 43 passes for 821 yards and 11 touchdowns in earning first-team All-State accolades.
Involved in a heavy recruit war among California, Southern California, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arizona State, Jackson enrolled at California, Berkeley in 2005, but there was concern he'd never play. In high school, Jackson hit .380 and stole 20 bases his senior year and he was considered the third-best all-around athlete in the Major League Baseball draft prospect pool in 2005 by Baseball America. Teams knew it would take a huge signing bonus to keep Jackson away from football, so they passed.
As late as his 2006 season at California, Jackson was still having thoughts of playing baseball.
In 2005, Jackson became the first incoming Cal player to win the Glenn Davis Award since running back Russell White captured the award for Crespi High School in 1987. Jackson took over flanker duties for the Bears, starting 10 contests, as he sat out the Washington State clash with a shoulder injury. He had a decent freshman campaign, totaling 698 all-purpose yards. He caught 38 passes for 601 yards (15.8-yard average) and seven touchdowns, adding 48 yards on eight carries (6.0-yard average). As a preview of things to come in 2006, Jackson's only punt return produced a 49-yard touchdown vs. Sacramento State in his collegiate debut.
As a sophomore, Jackson was a consensus All-American and unanimous All-Pac 10 Conference first-team choice. He captured the inaugural Randy Moss Award as the top return man in the nation, leading the NCAA with 18.2 yards per punt return, as he ranked second in the Pac-10 with nine receiving touchdowns. He set school and Pac-10 records for season (four) and career punt return touchdowns (five) with a 95-yarder vs. Arizona.
Jackson had four 100-yard games and registered 28 plays of 20 or more yards. He hauled in 59 passes for 1,060 yards (18.9-yard average) and gained 19 yards on five carries. He amassed 455 yards on 25 punt returns and 38 yards on two kickoff returns, piling up 1,572 all-purpose yards.
In 2007, Jackson was bothered by a badly sprained left thumb and was forced to wear a cast in practices and was heavily taped during games. He also suffered a deep thigh contusion vs. Washington that would force him to sit out the season finale vs. Stanford. He still earned American Football Coaches Association All-American first-team honors. He was a second-team All-Pac-10 pick as a receiver and punt returner.
Due to the injuries, he produced 762 yards and six touchdowns on 65 receptions (11.7-yard average). Jackson gained 132 yards with a score on 11 carries (12.0 avg) and returned only 12 punts for 129 yards (10.8 avg), including a 77-yard touchdown. He finished his junior campaign with 1,023 all-purpose yards.
In 36 games at California, Jackson started 34 games at flanker. He hauled in 162 passes for 2,423 yards (15.0-yard average) and 22 touchdowns. He carried 24 times for 199 yards (8.3 avg) and a score and also attempted one pass. On special teams, he gained 633 yards with six touchdowns on 38 punt returns (16.7 avg), 38 yards on two kickoff returns and recorded five solo tackles. He finished with 3,293 all-purpose yards, an average of 91.47 yards per game. For his career, he recorded 52 plays of 20 yards or more (23.0% of his 226 touches).