GUYTON — If you ask Taylor Jackson what his senior season is going to be like, he isn’t likely to say much. That’s because he is focused on doing his talking on the field.
Jackson, the starting quarterback for the South Effingham football team, is taking a businesslike approach this season. He’s simply focused on what he can do to make the team and himself better.
“I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “I’ve learned to know the game more in the past few seasons and that has helped a lot.”
Although every quarterback loves long touchdown passes, Jackson wants to spend as much time on the field as possible, working through his progressions to advance the ball methodically.
“I want to get down the field one chunk at a time,” Jackson said. “I want to eat as much clock as I can and keep my defense off the field. That’s what we have struggled with in the past.”
After the departure of former head coach Donnie Revell last winter following a 2-8 season, Jackson admitted that he was concerned about who would take over the program. For a quarterback, being comfortable with a new playbook is paramount. Fortunately for Jackson, new head coach Nathan Clark’s system put him at ease.
Clark served as offensive coordinator for two-time defending Class AAAAAA champion Lee County.
“I was really scared about who was going to get the job,” Jackson said. “A lot of people have different views on the way they want to run their offense. When (Clark) called me, I figured out who we were getting. He called me that night and I was watching film on Lee County.
“When I saw that, I knew it was going to be good.”
Clark’s approach has changed the program.
“He put us in a good environment,” Jackson said. “Everything from the weight room to the way we practice has changed. I’m very confident in the season.”
Jackson has tried his best to ignore that this season will be his last at South Effingham. But now the feeling is all too real.
“It hit me right after the spring game,” he said. “I didn’t really think about it much. Right after the spring game, we were all in a huddle and I thought, ‘Wow! This is the last one.’”
Jackson is eyeing the Mustangs’ all-time passing record set by Tyler Pullum, which is in excess of 4,200 yards. Jackson said he is somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 yards away but realizes the feat is achievable. More than anything, however, he’s determined to leave the program better than he found it.
“It’s going to be fun,” Jackson said. “We have a lot of seniors. It’s going to be one to remember.
“Everything is going to change.”
Jackson’s mindset changed and his style of play will be different, too.
“Last year I was more of a dual threat,” he said. “This year, I feel like I’ll be more of a pocket passer. If I need to run, I can.”
Jackson has received recruiting interest from Stetson and Wofford. While he’s excited to have the opportunity to play at the next level, he’s taking in every moment of his senior season.
“I feel like all of our seniors have a better mentality,” Jackson said. “We have so many starting seniors and we all believe this is going to be our year.”