March 11, 2008
LSU commit takes the long way home
BATON ROUGE, La. - It took him a while, but Janzen Jackson has finally found a home. The Lake Charles (La.) Barbe defensive back grew up in Houston, Texas and spent several years in California before spending his high school years in Louisiana. Though his parents are Louisiana natives, Jackson didn't have the Purple and Gold bred in him as a youngster.
He still had it in his blood though.
The moment Jackson got on campus for LSU's Junior Day in February all doubts about where he was heading to school were gone. To hear Jackson describe his college decision makes you wonder how he could be anything but a Tiger.
"I'm originally from here," Jackson said of his Louisiana roots. "It's close to home. They've got the best facilities and then they won the national championship so I mean how can you turn that down?"
Though there was never any doubt once he hit campus in February, growing up, Jackson would have rattled off a number of schools before listing LSU among his favorites. However, once he returned to the Pelican State, he was won over by much more than just on-the-field success.
"I really wasn't an LSU fan when I was younger because I grew up in Texas and I loved those Miami schools," he said. "When I moved here, I just liked the people and the fans. They're so into the game. LSU football is everywhere. I guess you could say I jumped on the bandwagon."
After his move to Louisiana, Jackson fell in love with the quality of the people off the field and their nastiness on the field.
"I've lived in a lot of places and I think that this is the most physical place I've ever been," he said. "Louisiana football is straight physical. I lived in California for two years and it's more speed out there and in Texas it's more speed but it's physical here."
Jackson fits right into the physical brand of play. In high school, Jackson has played a ball-hawking, head-hunting role as a safety but due to his athleticism and speed, he will be asked to bring his physical presence to the corner position in college.
"A lot of schools like me because I'm real fast and I have good feet and good hands and stuff but I'm really physical," he explained. "That's why they want me at corner. They want a physical corner that's big. I think I bring aggressiveness to the game, speed. My intelligence is a factor because my dad's a coach."
Jackson's dad, Lance Guidry has had a direct influence on his football career over the last few years as his high school coach at Carencro. But while on the staff at McNeese State, Guidry was equally as influential.
"He influenced me a lot," Jackson said. "I didn't live with him when I was younger but I would always spend time with him in the summer and he kind of worked on me. It would always be fresh in my mind with backpedaling and working on routes and stuff and he kind of developed my hand-eye coordination."
In his final season in high school, Jackson will be taking his game to Lake Charles where his dad has taken a job once again on the McNeese State staff. His Barbe High School teammates will be getting a competitor who won't back down from a challenge. That attitude shines through when Jackson talks about his approach towards his future LSU career.
"I really think I can play early because I've got that competitive type spirit," he said. "I really want to be a factor at LSU and hopefully go to the pros one day. I really want to be looked up to so when I got back to my hometown they can say, 'that's my cousin, he did things.'"
While Jackson's hometown has changed in the past, he's definitely got a home in LSU.
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