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High school football: players to watch: Jackson powers Dorados

Over the next 14 days, we will feature our picks of Southern Arizona’s top preseason high school football players.

Our countdown continues with Canyon del Oro’s John Jackson, a run-stuffing defensive end and bruising back who is expected to be a key player on both sides of the ball for the Dorados this season.

John Jackson

• The rundown: John Jackson, RB/FB/DE, 6-3, 255, Canyon del Oro, senior

• Who he is: A weak-side defensive end who also will be asked to open up holes for running backs and get the tough yards on power runs this season. Jackson is a four-year varsity starter who played at Tucson High his freshman year in 2010 and earned All-Southern Arizona honorable mention. While he had a tough time getting to the quarterback last year and finished with no sacks, he’s added 25 pounds by lifting harder, eating less fast food and adding more protein to his diet. The dual-sport athlete, who averaged eight points and seven rebounds for the basketball team, worked on his technique, quickness and overall flexibility over the summer. He credits his time on the court for honing some of his skills, including footwork, agility and aggression.

• Proof he’s good: Currently, Jackson holds offers from New Mexico State, North Dakota State, NAU and Wyoming. He attended camps at UA, Washington, Colorado, Boise State and Utah this summer. He hopes to impress Pac-12 schools with his play this season. CDO coach Dusty Peace said Jackson will be the Dorados’ premier player up front. “He’s physical, he should be able to control every offensive lineman he goes up against.”

• He said it: “The beginning part of his season (last year) didn’t go as well and the confidence was lacking. I feel like that (confidence) is back with our team and John. He wants to get sacks, just like any defensive lineman, but the reality in high school football is can you stop the run. He’s going to be solid there.” – Peace

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