Gabe Jackson sweeps C Spire Conerly, Hull

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No matter whom you pull for, you have to smile about the way things worked out where the 18th C Spire Conerly Trophy and the first Hull Trophy are concerned.

The Hull Trophy was instituted for two reasons: 1) to honor a great Mississippian, Kent Hull; 2) and because offensive linemen never get the recognition they deserve. Indeed, no offensive lineman had ever won the Conerly.

So, we institute the Hull Trophy and present it at the C Spire Conerly Banquet — and Gabe Jackson, the All-American offensive guard for the Mississippi State Bulldogs wins both of the beautiful bronze trophies.

Jackson won the C Spire Conerly over four other finalists: Alcorn running back Arnold Walker, Jackson State quarterback Clayton Moore, Millsaps running back Mike Barthelemy and Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, the 2012 Conerly winner.

Gabe Jackson

Only once in the C Spire Conerly’s history — Michael Oher in 2008 —had an offensive lineman been a finalist for the award.

These likely will be the first of many post-season awards for Jackson, a 340-pound senior from Liberty who started every game for four seasons for the Bulldogs.

Jackson did not give up a single sack over his junior and seasons. As a run blocker, he opened holes consistently. He graded out a champion (80 percent or above) in every game this past season. He is rated at or near the top at the guard position by all the NFL draft experts.

I’ve talked to several pro scouts about Jackson this season. All consider him a certain rookie starter in the NFL and a guy who could become a future All-Pro.

They sound like a broken record, all saying something like this: “So big, so strong, so quick for his size. Great feet. Great work ethic. Can’t miss.”

John Hevesy has been Jackson’s position coach at State. Said Hevesy: “Gabe is the reason coaches come to work every day. In five years with Gabe, there has never been a moment when he hasn’t give me and Mississippi State everything he has to give. He has worked relentlessly to become a great player. . . . You are going to see a lot more of Gabe Jackson on Sundays.”

The guy Jackson reminds me of is former New Orleans Saints All-Pro Carl Nicks, who now makes $12.5 million a year for the Tampa Bay Bucs. He’s as big as Nicks and has the same quick feet and explosive burst.

Jackson could have come out early after his junior season and already be making hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions. He chose instead to play his senior season at State. That decision is paying off in lots of hardware — and the millions should follow soon.

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