Players of the Pine Belt: Sumrall's Dannis Jackson

In two years of high school ball Dannis Jackson has made a name for himself as one of the state’s top wide outs.  

This status hasn’t changed. But, there is something different this summer. The Sumrall junior is throwing the ball instead of catching it.

Quarterback will be Jackson’s position in 2017. Although this a major shift in role, he’s keeping it simple.

"I mean it’s football," Jackson said. "It’s football. Just having fun. Same thing. Different position."

Jackson isn’t new to the QB spot. He grew up playing the position and was the Bobcats' backup the last two years.

The position switch was pretty much needed following the graduation of Rhett Harvey. The idea was clear for coach Shannon White. Give the ball to the best athlete.

"This year we’re huddling up for the first time since I’ve been here," Bobcats coach Shannon White said. "So he’s having to make huddle calls and he’s doing a good job of that as is Zane Berry and our other quarterbacks. But huddling up, just getting back in that mode of being the quarterback.

"Touching the ball every play. Learning plays, learning all the runs, learning all the pass routes. Things of that nature as opposed to I’m just sitting out here and I just go to block or what route did he call..I got it. It’s a lot more on quarterbacks than it is receivers that’s for sure. So it’s just been a good learning curve for him and kind of knocking the dust off."

Added Jackson, "The difference between receiver and quarterback is I think being a quarterback you have no choice but to be a leader. You have to step in. You have to take control of the huddle sometimes. You have to tell people. Encourage them and tell them what they’re doing wrong. Things like that. That’s about the difference."

While Jackson is all in on White’s plan, it wasn’t a transition without hesitation.  

"He didn’t want to play quarterback," White said. "Now we didn’t argue about it, nothing like that. He dropped his head. We had several discussions about it. But I mean he never was just adamantly against playing it. But when you’re a four-star receiver you want to be a four-star receiver on Friday nights. I understand that but he’s good."

Jackson recently accepted an invitation to play in the Under Armour all-American game. So, his pass catching talents have not been forgotten.

"That’s a blessing man," Jackson said. "That’s a blessing. I’m very thankful for that. Not many players get to do things like that and I’m just blessed to be one of them."

White and his coaching staff have the vision. Jackson has the talent and mentality. This could equal some scary nights for defenses.

"We have a lot of great plays," Jackson said. "Not going to say the plays but we have a lot of great plays. A lot of great passes, a lot of great runs…things like that. So, we’re going to be okay."