When the name Michael Jackson is brought up, the first thing people think of is usually far from anything football-related. Moonwalks supercede a backpedal in coverage. Diamond-studded gloves are more functional than the Adidas team-issued gloves. That’s all fine and dandy in the pop world, but when it comes to the game of football, we’ll gladly take the four-season resume of Michael Jackson over any King of Pop, any day of the week. A tall, lanky corner, Jackson’s arrival to UM wasn’t met with much fanfare. With his final home game in a Hurricanes’ uniform upon the horizon, you’re left wishing that we could enjoy another season with the star from Alabama.
In today’s Senior Profile Series, our focus turns to the ascension of Hurricane cornerback Michael Jackson.
Before the U
Jackson fought hard to gain notoriety in the football hotbed of Alabama. Jackson’s ability to finish a receiver’s route, track the ball in the air and ultimately create a turnover or incompletion were just a few of his admirable qualities. Born overseas, but raised in Alabama, Jackson was a known commodity on the recruiting trail, yet could not get an offer from Auburn or the University of Alabama. With offers from Nebraska, Minnesota, Miami and Clemson, Jackson had plenty of options to choose from. After attending a camp in June of 2014, the Spain Park CB would later go on to commit to the Hurricanes in October. Despite a late offer from Clemson in December, UM’s coaching staff was able to close out the recruitment, getting Mike Jack to sign his letter of intent on National Signing Day as part of the 2015 class. The addition of a 6’2, 190 pound cornerback was welcome news not only from a depth perspective, but for being able to matchup with the taller receivers as well.
Life as a Cane
So you made it to Coral Gables — now get in line and run the drill. And that’s what Mike Jack did for the better part of two seasons. Most of his snaps during games came on special teams, Jackson accounted for 12 tackles and one pass breakup as an underclassman. Jackson did recover a blocked punt for a TD against Notre Dame — which is always great, but seldom saw reps at corner for the Hurricanes. The lack of playing time stressed the out-of-state corner, as it rightfully should. Instead of pouting, he decided to let the scout team be his vehicle to moving up into the cornerback rotation.
“One of the greatest success stories I’ve ever been around [...] There’s not a lot of guys who say, ‘I’m going to really listen to what these guys are saying, and I’m going to really push myself and try to become a better player’”
—defensive coordinator Manny Diaz via Manny Navarro of The Athletic
Jackson made the most of his opportunities as he progressed into upperclassmen status. With the 2017 season on the horizon, Jackson put together one of his best offseasons. Coaches and teammates raved about his play in practices. Of course, what does praise in offseason matter when they don’t count as a win or loss as they do in the fall? Well, Mike Jack parlayed the lessons of his first two years with the Canes into an impressive junior campaign. Teaming up with fellow corner Malek Young, the pair were one of the most CBs duos in the ACC. With 43 tackles, four interceptions, three TFL, a sack and five pass breakups, Jackson’s coming out party was a monumental boon for the Hurricanes.
After putting together such a remarkable season, there was a decision to be made the following off-season of whether to stay or forgo his senior year to the NFL. A difficult decision became a bit easier with Michael Jackson becoming a senior, in more ways than one. Yes, Jackson returned to school for his senior season, but during the summer he celebrated the joy of becoming a father to Michael Jackson Jr., after the Canes’ 2018 Spring Game. Mike Jack’s decision to return for a final season was one not made solely for business purposes, but one that reflected the love for his family, both immediate as well as his Canes’ familia.
Considered to be one of the better cornerbacks in the country, Mike Jack’s return helped improve the Canes’ defense this season and allowed him to refine his game. Working on his tackling, the finer details of coverage against more routes and out of different formations, it’s been another stellar season for the cover corner. Jackson’s stat line entering his final home game is 34 tackles, five PBUs and 1.5 TFL. Yes, Mike Jack has notably not secured an interception to date, yet that shouldn’t take away from what has been another solid season for the one of the best DBs in the country.
There was a real possibility that Jackson could have taken his talents to the pros. Mike Jack could have just gone through the motions as a senior, he had already proven that he could propel himself to be mentioned alongside the best at his position at the college level. Instead, the Alabama native continues to dedicate himself to the game and the U! A leader by example, going from student to mentor to becoming a father for the first time, Jackson has seen plenty of development as a Hurricane. He’s also helped to keep the standards at the University of Miami high. Today we congratulate Michael Jackson ahead of senior day for his contributions as a Hurricane.
Salute to Mike Jack!