WR Dexter Jackson scored two touchdowns in Appalachian State's season opener last year, a stunning upset of Michigan
The name may be familiar but the game will hopefully be something new for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There were echoes of the 1999 draft on Saturday evening when the Buccaneers drafted a player named Dexter Jackson in the second round. The 2008 Jackson, however, is a speedy, playmaking wide receiver out of Florida State who could give the Bucs an immediate boost in the passing and return games. He shares a first and last name with former Buccaneers safety Dexter Jackson, a fourth-rounder in '99 who eventually became the MVP of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl XXXVII victory in January of 2003.
The newest Jackson is a 5-10, 182-pound receiver out of Appalachian State who rose to national prominence last fall with his efforts in the Mountaineers' shocking upset of Michigan. He caught three passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns, ran once for 19 yards and returned a punt 18 yards in that season-opening win for Appalachian State, en route to a big senior campaign.
Overall, Jackson racked up 30 receptions for 688 yards and eight touchdowns in 2007, averaging an impressive 22.93 yards per grab. He also averaged 6.6 yards per punt return, and the Bucs believe he can be a real threat in that regard as he develops in the offense.
"Special teams really makes him a valuable guy for us," said Head Coach Jon Gruden. "He'll give us some depth at the receiver position while he's progressing and he'll also give us a real kick, I think, in the return game."
In four seasons at Appalachian State, Jackson played in 55 games and started 25, catching 110 passes for 1,846 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 16.8 yards per reception. He also averaged 9.0 yards on 93 punt returns, scoring twice, and 17.7 yards on 35 kickoff returns. He was an All-Southern Conference second-team choice as a senior.
The Buccaneers moved down in the second round in a trade with Jacksonville but still got their man. Tampa Bay's move six spots down, from pick #52 to #58, brought back an additional fifth-round pick as well as a seventh-rounder in 2009.