By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Pine Bush coach Jim Wright hasn’t seen Robert Jackson play in four years and doesn’t have any game film on him.
Still, Wright has a good idea about the type of player Jackson, a transfer, can be this season based on some of the schools interested in the 6-foot-3, 215-pound defensive end. Temple, Rutgers, Connecticut, Syracuse, Duke and Army have all inquired about the athletic Jackson.
Wright — and the rest of Section 9 — will get their first glimpse of Jackson, who is expected to be an impact player, at Camp of Champions. The popular camp runs from Sunday through Thursday at Valley Central High School in Montgomery. It culminates with a multi-team scrimmage on the final day. Some opposing coaches are already buzzing about Jackson.
Burke Catholic, Minisink Valley, Monroe-Woodbury, Pine Bush, Valley Central, Wallkill and Warwick are competing at Camp of Champions.
“When you see him at practice, Robert is a pretty impressive kid,” Wright said. “Based on our observations, I have a pretty good idea what he can do. Robert has obviously made an impression at the camps that he has attended. He is fast and is a great kid that comes from a good family. Camp of Champions is going to provide us with an opportunity to see what Robert is about.”
Jackson will play defensive end for last year’s Class AA runner-ups, but can also line up at outside linebacker. Wright said Jackson is eager to show off his ability in coverage as a linebacker. Still, Jackson is a humble young man who deflects any attention on him to his team.
“It just feels good to be playing with the kids that I grew up with again,” Jackson said. “I have real high expectations for the team and hopefully we will come together and have a great season. Of course, I want to make impactful plays, but I just want it to make the team better.”
Jackson left Pine Bush after his eighth-grade year, transferring to New Jersey powerhouse St. Joseph High. He said he played in blitz packages for the Wildcats early last season, before suffering a broken hand. Jackson decided to transfer back to Pine Bush last October to go to school closer to home.
St. Joseph went on to finish 12-0 and win the Non-Public II state title. Although Section 9 might not yet know about Jackson, Pine Bush is excited to have him back. Pine Bush defensive coordinator Mike McDonald expects Jackson to be an impact player.
“Mike likes Jackson a lot,” Wright said. “Coach McDonald has a good eye, he is usually on it. We are definitely excited about what Robert cam do for us.”