Jan. 13, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Derrick Jackson, who spent the 2005 season on the Northern Illinois coaching staff, has been named defensive line coach at Michigan State, fourth-year Spartan head coach John L. Smith announced Friday, Jan. 13.
The 35-year-old Jackson comes to Michigan State following one year as the defensive interior line coach at Northern Illinois where he worked under Joe Novak. The Huskies (7-5 overall) won a share of the Mid-American Conference West Division title in 2005 and played in the MAC Championship Game. Northern Illinois ranked second in the MAC in scoring defense, allowing 22.8 points per game. In 2005, Jackson tutored defensive tackle Quince Holman, who earned first-team All-MAC honors after recording 12 tackles for losses including five sacks. In addition, nose tackle Brad Benson was named to the Academic All-MAC Team.
"Derrick Jackson really made a statement during the interview process, distinguishing himself as `the guy,'" Coach Smith said. "He gave an outstanding presentation, and I loved his enthusiasm. Derrick has a great work ethic, plus he's excited abut the game and excited about coaching.
"He already has shown the ability to get out and recruit. He's got the total package: a Duke education, Division I playing experience and he's worked his way up the coaching ladder. We're fortunate to have Derrick on our coaching staff, and he's going to do a great job."
"I got goose bumps when John L. first approached me about this coaching opportunity," Jackson said. "It's both an honor and a privilege to coach at Michigan State, especially considering this institution's academic and athletic reputation.
"This is a huge move for me professionally - one that I've dreamed about as a coach. I've been grooming myself for the last seven years for this opportunity. I have great respect for John L., both personally and professionally. While at Army, I had an opportunity to coach against one of his Louisville teams. I'm truly blessed to continue my career development under Coach Smith.
"After three years, John L. has all of the building blocks in place to build a championship contender here at Michigan State. I'm excited about getting to work because we're going to accomplish some great things."
Prior to his appointment at Northern Illinois, Jackson worked for two years as the defensive line coach at Eastern Illinois (2003-04) under Bob Spoo. In 2003, the Panthers led the Ohio Valley Conference in scoring defense (22.3 ppg.) and in 2004, EIU ranked No. 18 among NCAA I-AA teams in rushing defense (114.3 yards per game). In 2004, Jackson helped develop defensive tackle Marcus Lorick, who earned second-team All-America honors from the Associated Press and The Sports Network. Another one of his pupils - defensive end Kory Lothe - became a two-time second-team All-OVC selection. Lothe led the OVC with six sacks in 2004.
His full-time coaching credits include a two-year stint at the U.S. Military Academy (2001-02) where he coached the defensive ends under Todd Berry. At West Point (N.Y.), Jackson helped produce two stellar defensive ends: Clarence Holmes, who set Army's single-season (7 in 2001) and career (11.5) records for sacks, and Brandon Perdue, who earned first-team Academic All-America honors in 2001.
Jackson has participated in the National Football League's Minority Coaching Fellowship Program, working summers for the 2002 Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 2001 Miami Dolphins.
After spending six years in the private sector, Jackson began his coaching career as a graduate assistant and tight ends coach for Glenn Spencer at West Georgia (1999-2000). In 2000, the Braves posted a 10-2 overall record, tied for the Gulf South Conference championship and qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs.
In just seven seasons coaching in the collegiate ranks, Jackson already has earned himself a reputation as a tireless recruiter. At Northern Illinois, his recruiting areas included St. Louis, Mo., as well as northern and central Florida. At Eastern Illinois, he recruited Chicago's Outer Loop, while at Army, he primarily scouted prospects on the East Coast. At West Georgia, Jackson had recruiting responsibilities in Metro Atlanta.
A native of Long Valley, N.J., Jackson was a four-year starter at safety for Duke where he played for Steve Spurrier (1989) and Barry Wilson (1990-92). He started 40 consecutive games for the Blue Devils, recording 262 career tackles and six career interceptions. His 262 career tackles ranked No. 8 on Duke's all-time list. He was selected as the team's Most Outstanding Defensive Back in both 1991 and 1992. Jackson started as a red-shirt freshman on the 1989 Duke team that posted an 8-4 record, claimed a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and earned a trip to the All-American Bowl.
Jackson earned a bachelor's degree in history from Duke in 1993.
He lettered in three sports - football, basketball and track - while attending West Morris Central High School in Chester, N.J. As a senior, Jackson helped West Morris Central to a 9-2 record and a second-place finish in the Group III state playoffs while earning first-team all-state honors from the New Jersey Football Coaches Association.
Jackson is engaged to Renae Stahl, from Defiance, Ohio, and the couple has a wedding scheduled for July 2006.