[Bryan Kurp | WOUB]

OU Football Welcomes Big Addition In Offensive Lineman TJ Jackson

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The Ohio University Football team was able to land a big addition to the offensive line this season from the Transfer Portal.

TJ Jackson, a redshirt fifth year Offensive Lineman from Cumberland, Virginia, not only stands out because of his talent. He also stands out at 6’7″ and 375 lbs.

Jackson played at Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coastal Conference for his first 5 years of college. He took the field in 24 career games with the Hookies, with two starts, before entering the transfer portal for his final year of eligibility.

He chose to come play for the Bobcats largely in part because of Offensive Line Coach Allen Rudolph.

“When I talked to Coach Rudolph, he seemed like the most experienced guy,” Jackson said. “I knew that it was going to be the right fit for me because he knows his stuff. He’s been coaching here a long time. He was the reason why I came here.”

TJ Jackson on the field for practice
TJ Jackson practices with the Ohio University Football team. [Joe Collins | WOUB]
In his fourth day of fall practice with the Bobcats, Jackson said Rudolph was already helping him improve on the fundamentals of playing the offensive line position.

“Every coach is gonna push you to practice hard, but he’s really big on fundamentals and that’s something that was big for me to work on. I feel like that’s the biggest part for him.”

Jackson will add what he’s learning with Ohio Football to the extensive knowledge he picked up from coaches and players at Virginia Tech. One of those players, Wyatt Teller, is now an offensive guard for the Cleveland Browns and was named to the 2020 NFL Second-Team All-Pro.

“At the start of my junior season, Wyatt (Teller) came back to train with us before he got traded to the Browns,” Jackson said. “We had a conversation together and he was like, ‘Bro, you’re really up next. You might not think it, but I’ve watched you grow.’ Just watching him work when he was at ‘Tech, it motivated me so much. I was telling myself I got to now be where they are.”

Jackson has been one of the stand-out players in practice, not just because his size, getting a good number of reps and getting more comfortable with the offensive scheme.

He will be blocking for the Bobcats’ star running back DeMontre Tuggle, a pre-season All-MAC First-Team selection. Jackson has nothing but high praise for his new teammate.

“I watched Tugg’s film and was like dang, he’s about to make me look good,” he said with a laugh. “It’s great to have a guy behind me running the ball as hard as he can. And it pushes me to block the best I can for him.”

Off the field, Jackson is getting more comfortable living in Athens..

“I love this campus,” he expressed. “It’s the same as Blacksburg but just smaller. Everybody’s nice. My first week here I was like ‘Dang the people here are so nice I could get used to this.’ Everybody is very welcoming and I’ve loved it so far. Athens has been great to me.”

The Bobcats are closer to opening night at home against Syracuse, an ACC opponent Jackson has seen multiple times while at Virginia Tech.

“For me, I see it as going back to where I was in a sense. So I’ve been trying to get the guys prepared because while they are a higher-level football team, I feel like we can compete very well with them. I know what it takes to be like that. So, I’m keeping focused on them coming here.”

Jackson and his new Bobcat teammates take on Syracuse Sept. 4 at Peden Stadium.