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July 23, 2013
Freshmen Impact Player #5: Aaron Jackson
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Aside from Willie McNeal, it's hard to pinpoint a wide receiver that really stands out and could be considered a playmaker on the Hilltoppers roster. Sure, talent is visible with Austin Aikens and Rico Brown, but with Petrino expected to expand the offense and spread talent out - he will need to rely heavily on the incoming freshmen receiving corps.
One of those new faces expected to make an immediate impact is Franfort (Ky.) wide receiver Aaron Jackson, who's combination of size and speed will make him a viable weapon in the spread offense where receivers will be expected to make plays after the catch.
Speaking of making plays, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound speedster snagged 60 receptions for 1,513 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. What's even more impressive about those numbers is that he averaged 25.2 yards per catch - using his size, speed, and leaping ability to develop into an ultimate deep-threat.
Jackson also has an astounding track and field background, having competed in the 100 and 400 meters, as well as the long jump.
Last season, the Hilltoppers ran the West Coast offense that featured a heavy dose of running backs, short passes to tight ends, and emphasizing time of possession. Check this out: former WKU tight end Jack Doyle led the team in receptions with 53 and running back Antonio Andrews had 37 grabs. On the flip side: there was a huge gap in receptions by wide receivers - Willie McNeal led the way with 43, but the next receiver on the stats list was Rico Brown, who only hauled in 13 passes last season.
Expect those receiving stats to look significantly different this season as the receivers will be featured, emphasized, and showcased in the Petrino-style offense. While Willie McNeal will lead the way, expect Aaron Jackson to blossom into a significant playmaker.
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