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.”
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.”