January 16, 2012

Cal Poly Football Cornerback Asa Jackson to Play in 2012 Senior Bowl

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly senior cornerback Asa Jackson has accepted an invitation to play in the 2012 Senior Bowl, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

"I have gotten official word from Steve Hale that I am in the game," Jackson said via email Monday. Hale is president and CEO of the Senior Bowl.

The game, to be televised by NFL Network at 1 p.m. PST, is one of football's premier pre-draft events and the nation's most unique football game. It annually features the country's best senior collegiate football stars and top NFL draft prospects on teams representing the North and South which are coached by the entire coaching staffs from two National Football League teams.

Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins staff will coach the South squad while Leslie Frazier and the Minnesota Vikings staff will coach the North.

Jackson, who has earned numerous postseason All-American and All-Great West Conference honors, played his last game as a Mustang in Ladd-Peebles Stadium as well, securing seven tackles and one pass breakup in Cal Poly's 41-10 victory over South Alabama to wrap up a 6-5 season on Nov. 19.

Jackson (5-11, 190, Sacramento, Calif./Christian Brothers HS) is the second former Mustang to play in the Senior Bowl. Wide receiver Ramses Barden played in the 2009 Senior Bowl and, playing for the North squad, gained 20 yards on two receptions. The South team won 35-18. Three months later, Barden was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round (85th overall selection).

Players report this weekend for physicals and NFL testing. They will meet with their head coaches Sunday and the National Scouting Weigh-In is scheduled for next Monday.

Both teams will practice next Monday through Friday and the practice sessions are attended by over 800 general managers, head coaches, assistant coaches, scouts and other front office personnel from the 32 National Football League teams, making Mobile and the Senior Bowl the week-long host to a one-of-a-kind NFL Coaches Convention.
 
In mid-December, Jackson became Cal Poly's first Associated Press Football Championship Subdivision All-American honoree in three years, named to the third team. Last week Jackson was selected to the Beyond Sports Network FCS All-American third team.

Selected as Cal Poly's most valuable defensive player a month ago, Jackson landed a spot on College Sports Madness' All-American second team. He was a third-team Sports Network All-American in both 2010 and 2011. Also this season, Jackson was placed on the Phil Steele Publications third team after returning both of his interceptions for touchdowns.

Jackson earned Great West Freshman Player of the Year honors in 2008 and is the third Mustang to earn all-conference first-team honors four times and the first player in the history of the league to be honored four times on the first-team defense.

The other four-time all-conference first-team Mustangs were Barden and offensive lineman Stephen Field, both from 2005-08.

A preseason Buck Buchanan Award candidate (he finished 15th in final balloting released Jan. 6), Jackson notched 199 tackles in four seasons with the Mustangs along with eight interceptions (two in each season) and 32 pass breakups. In his senior campaign, Jackson had 54 tackles (31 solo) with two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns, and seven pass breakups.

Jackson also was among the nation's leaders in punt returns last fall, averaging 18.0 yards on eight returns with a long of 41 yards. He returned a theft against South Dakota State 47 yards for a touchdown in 2009 and now owns the school Division I record with his three interception returns for touchdowns. His 14.7 career punt return average is an all-time school mark.

Jackson's interception returns for touchdowns last fall spanned 100 yards against South Dakota State and 52 yards against Central Oklahoma.

Last week, Jackson was named Football Championship Subdivision Punt Returner of the Year by College Football Performance Awards.

On Dec. 14, Jackson was one of 10 Mustangs selected to the All-Time Great West Conference Team. In addition, former Cal Poly head coach Rich Ellerson was named the team's coach.