Kentucky’s Drake Jackson ready to anchor the “Big Blue Wall”

Former Woodford County star has 33 consecutive starts for Kentucky

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LEXINGTON (WTVQ) – Senior Kentucky center Drake Jackson grew up not too far from Kroger Field, he’s a former Woodford County Yellow Jacket.  It was during those young years he’d listen to Tom Leach call Kentucky games. So when he came to Kentucky and heard his name it was a special moment.

“To hear, you know, Leach say your voice on the radio and you grow up listening to his voice in the car when really, really my whole life,” said Drake. “And then you hear him say your name on the radio, it just gives you those chills.”

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Jackson has heard his name a lot.  That’s what happens when you have 33 consecutive starts. That’s impressive in general, but as a lineman in the trenches that’s different. How does he endure the bumps and bruises and show up every Saturday to play?

“I think it really helps when you really enjoy playing the game,” Drake said. “I don’t see it as a job. I don’t see it as just a way to pay for my school. I see it as the favorite thing in my life. Something I grew up as a kid watching. Every now and then I have to take a seat, you know sit back and think, wow…I’m really doing what I wanted to do my whole life.”

Last season Jackson was named All-SEC by multiple outlets; the AP and Athlon Sports named him first team. Just like Landon Young, he decided to return for his final year. The potential of this year’s team is a big reason for coming back.

“We return so many players this season that you look at it and say wow, we really have a chance to compete better than we ever have.”

He’s also realistic about being drafted.

“You look each year half the underclassmen who declare early don’t get drafted.”

Jackson now has one last season with the Big Blue Wall, but he wants to be part of something bigger.

“I remember our first meeting back after that Citrus Bowl, Coach Stoops said hey, I don’t want to just have a good team, I want to have a good program. And there’s a difference. A program has long, sustained success and that what we have now. I really believe that.”

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com