Something good in sports: Former South Delta Ram makes the CFL
When the Ottawa Redblacks visit your B.C. Lions in October you may just find a good reason to cheer for the visitors. That’s because one of the newest members of the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Redblacks is 22-year-old Kevin Jackson, a former South Delta Ram.
Kevin lived in South Delta until he was 12 years old before moving to Cypress, Texas during his first year of high school. He still remembers his time playing for the green and gold in Tsawwassen fondly.
“We always had a good little crew, we had a good little team,” says Kevin via phone from Ottawa. “We went to the championships one year when I was an atom or peewee. I still know all the guys I played with. I still talk to most of them.”
Kevin says he still remembers those early days of learning special teams and creative strategies to beating other teams.
“Our coach always used to draw up a few trick plays. We would punt it and one of our own guys would be onside and get it.”
Growing up in Canada, Kevin is quick to admit that football isn’t the first choice for sports. But he soon learned ice hockey wasn’t his bag.
“I couldn’t get into hockey. I enjoy watching hockey but I wasn’t the best skater,” he confesses, laughing. “And during the off season for football I’d play baseball at Maple Crescent Park in Ladner.”
So, how does life as a South Delta Ram compare to playing in the CFL? Kevin says the field is a lot bigger in the pros and you only get three downs in Canadian football, but other than that it’s not that much different from life as a South Delta Ram.
“When I was younger it was easier because we didn’t have complicated stuff that you see in the CFL like the ‘waggle’. But the football’s the same.”
Kevin says he was never a tall player but he was always solid. In his early days as a Ram he tried centre and running back but soon found his career position of linebacker. It’s the position he played at Sam Houston State in Texas where he was noticed and drafted by the Redblacks in the fourth round, 34th overall, in this year’s CFL draft.
The 5’11”, 230 pound reserve linebacker and special teams player was credited with a season best six stops in one game in 2014. He was drafted largely on the quality of that season, as he spent most of 2015 off with injuries.
Kevin played on special teams in Ottawa’s first game against the Edmonton Eskimos to start the season on June 25, but as a rookie he knows he’ll spend a bit of time riding the bench while he learns from more veteran players. Still, when the CFL schedule takes Ottawa to Vancouver in October, he’s hoping he’ll be able to play in front of familiar faces.
“A lot of people get hurt in the CFL, it’s a quick turnover. So I’m not hoping somebody gets hurts but if they do the week I’m going to B.C. I’m hoping that’s the week it’ll be,” he says, chuckling.
Either way, Kevin says he’ll definitely look up old friends in South Delta when he’s back. And who knows? He might even throw the ball around Dennison Park for old times’ sake.