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2016 Russell Athletic Bowl Player Preview: Joe Jackson

The freshman will look to continue his stellar play in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

NCAA Football: Duke at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Headed into this matchup, Miami should feel confident about their chances to pressure the West Virginia's quarterback. A big reason for that, is the emergence of freshman defensive end, Joe Jackson.

There are not many linemen on either side of the ball that can make a significant impact in their first year on campus. Jackson has not only done that, but he has Miami fans thinking that the future is bright for him.

I expect Jackson to be in the backfield quite often throughout this game. When he does, typically good things happen for the Hurricanes' defense. The freshman had 6.5 sacks this season, and he returned a fumble for an 18-yard touchdown.

If he can do anything like he what he did against Georgia Tech, it should be a good night for Miami fans.

There could be more reps available for Jackson, with defensive lineman Gerald Willis ruled out for the game. Although, Willis mostly played in the interior of the line, he was known to occasionally bounce to the outside in games.

Jackson along with the freshmen at linebacker, will determine the tone in which this Miami defense will play in this bowl game. I expect a freshman to lead the team in tackles in this game, and there is a chance it could be Jackson.