February 9, 2008

Wrist healing nicely

Dontavius Jackson held up his left wrist, shook it a few times, before breaking into a wide smile.

He definitely had a reason to grin.

It was late in the second quarter of Heard County's season-opener when Jackson tore ligaments in his left wrist. He missed the rest of his senior year.

Disappointed? You bet.

But no longer: The personable running back prefers to look to his future with the Bulldogs. He likes what he sees - and the way he feels.

"It's (the wrist) feeling better every day," said Jackson. "I still don't have my full range of motion, but in time it will be OK."

Jackson said he fully anticipates being ready for spring drills next month, when he will compete with fellow freshman and roommate Richard Samuel for a backup spot in the Georgia backfield behind Knowshon Moreno and Caleb King.

"We feel like we're in a very good position now with our running backs," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We know have three scholarship tailbacks (King, Jackson and Samuel) behind Knowshon who will be competing."

Before the injury, Jackson was arguably the state's most dynamic high school running back coming into the 2007 season.

As a junior Jackson rushed 247 times for 2,462 yards, an average of 10 yards per carry, and 29 touchdowns. Included, was a 42-carry, 405-yard performance against Lamar County in the season finale.

It appeared that 2007 would see Jackson get off to an even more rousing start in the season-opener against Breman.

Jackson had 12 carries for 246 yards before he tore the ligaments in his wrist, bringing his season to a screeching halt.

"It's real frustrating, it's your senior season, but right now I look back, and it happened for a reason," Jackson said. "God had a reason, so I just took it like that. I'm just excited about my future now."

Jackson's injury certainly didn't keep virtually every big-time program from recruiting the 5-11, 195-pounder.

Jackson also visited Clemson and LSU before committing to the Bulldogs on Halloween.

"That was just something I wanted to do," Jackson laughed. "I just wanted to have some fun."

Jackson said his first month in Athens has already been a blast, especially since Samuel is one of the three other players (Tavarres King and Ben Jones are the others) sharing an apartment together.

"It's good having Richard there because we both are kind of going through the same thing, being freshmen running backs and all that," Jackson said. "It's a lot of fun. We talk a lot, but not just about football. We talk about other things, too."

Although nobody can yet predict how the battle for playing time behind Moreno and King will shake out, Richt said both players did themselves a big favor by enrolling early.

"I think that's always a benefit if a player is able to do that," Richt said. "Even if they don't redshirt, they get accustomed to the system and that gives them a chance to become acclimated to life as a college student. Of course, being able to go through spring practice will give them a chance to compete in the fall a little better than if they enrolled in June."

Jackson said that's exactly the reason he's in school now.

"I just wanted to get myself prepared," he said. "I'm just excited to be a Bulldog. I couldn't wait to get here and get started."

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