Appalachian State's Jackson hopes to cap good week with strong Shrine Game performance Print
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Friday, 18 January 2008 10:19
NCAAF Headline News

 HOUSTON (AP) -Dexter Jackson became the face of Appalachian State's stunning win at Michigan when he appeared on the cover of a national sports magazine the week after the victory.
Thanks to that win, he benefited from the type of publicity players from the Football Championship Subdivision rarely see. Despite the notice, the small school player is likely a long shot to be chosen in the NFL draft.
Jackson is in Houston this week showing off his skills in preparation for Saturday's East-West Shrine game. The speedy receiver's performance in practice has made him the darling of the group.
``Everyone is talking about him,'' East team coach Dick Vermeil said. ``I think he's lighting it up. He's just jumped out at me.''
Jackson knows his chances of being drafted aren't great. Corey Hall, who was chosen in the seventh round by the Falcons in 2001, is the only player from Appalachian State drafted this decade.
Instead of focusing on that, he could contemplate the success of another former Mountaineer who shares his first name. Dexter Coakley was drafted in the third round in 1997 and the linebacker played 10 seasons for the Cowboys and the Rams.
``I've always been told to stay focused and don't worry about being at a little school, just worry about you,'' Jackson said. ``It's all about you and any ballclub that needs what you have, they'll get you.''
His speed was on display in the 34-32 win at Michigan, when he scored two touchdowns. He finished the season with 30 catches for 688 yards and eight touchdown in helping the Mountaineers win their third straight national title..
Last year's Southern Conference champion at 200 meters, Jackson ended up at Appalachian State. He was recruited by the likes of Florida and Georgia, but he failed to get a qualifying SAT score until just before signing day.
``I really think it was good for me because we got exposure through the national championships and then the Michigan game was overwhelming,'' he said. ``We always thought, don't worry about a name of a school or any of that. Just compete.''
Lane.
``It makes me very encouraged because it shows that if you work hard, it can pay off in the long run no matter where you come from,'' Jackson said.
He could meet Jones this weekend as the Texans player is scheduled to take part in pregame activities.
Another player gaining notice this week is Houston running back Anthony Alridge. Though undersized at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, Alridge is said to run a sub-4.3 40-yard and has earned the nickname ``Quick.''
``I've showed these guys my speed,'' he said. ``They think I'm the fastest person in the world, so hopefully I can show that in the game.''
He has impressed West coach Mike White and is looking for a big game Saturday after struggling in Houston's 20-13 loss to TCU in the Texas Bowl.
He had 1,568 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns in the regular season, but managed 28 yards on 15 carries against TCU. Alridge's stock could increase because of his receiving skills after he had 42 catches for 428 yards and five scores this season. He got some work at receiver in workouts this week.
He'll get a chance to make up for his subpar Texas Bowl performance at home as the only Cougar participating in the event played at Houston's Robertson Stadium for the first time.
``I get to have my own fans watch me play one more time in my house,'' he said. ``Hopefully they'll get to see me on Sunday, but I'm glad this last one is here.''
This is the third year the game will be played in Texas after it was held at Reliant Stadium last year and in San Antonio in 2006.
 

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