Mississippi State offensive lineman Gabe Jackson, one of the elite guard prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft, has turned in a rock-solid first month for his senior season with the Bulldogs. The 6-4, 335-pounder, known for his ability to drive-block at the point of attack, had five pancake blocks and was named Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week following MSU's win over Troy. His power and strength remind many of former Alabama star guard Chance Warmack, who was a first-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in April.
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Several NFL scouts were in attendance at Scott Field to evaluate Jackson, according to the Sun Herald, and one "high-ranking and well-respected" scout was apparently blown away by Jackson's performance: "Really, really impressive. He is one big and powerful man."
Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said Jackson, beyond his natural ability, brings a tireless work ethic to refining the technical craft of guard play. Approach-wise, it's as if Jackson is already in the NFL.
"He's had a great year for us. He's a guy who has started every game that he's been here for. He's continually improved. He really works as a professional. He works at his game, and constantly improving his game, in every aspect of the game," Mullen said. "He has a very serious approach to the game of football, loves it, works at his techniques, his fundamentals. And on top of that, he's a powerful, talented young man."
There was a strong temptation to leave college a year early for Jackson.
"It was pretty clear I would have gone fairly high in the draft this year, but I think I can go a lot higher by playing my senior season," Jackson said. "I talked to my family and I talked to my coaches and I made a decision. Now it's up to me to make it pay off."
Jackson is rated the No. 6 senior prospect in the nation, according to NFL Media draft analyst Gil Brandt.
Mullen said Jackson leads by example more than vocally, but nevertheless commands respect and attention from the team when necessary.
"(Jackson leads) more by example, but when he talks, people definitely listen," Mullen said. "He's not a big rah-rah guy, but when he does talk, everyone is certainly going to listen."