Mississippi State senior offensive guard Gabe Jackson (61) wins the 2013 Conerly Trophy Tuesday, given to the best football player in the state of Mississippi. Photo by: MSU athletics
December 4, 2013 9:31:50 AM
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After leading Mississippi State to its fourth-straight bowl game, a first in program history, senior left guard Gabe Jackson was named the 2013 C Spire Conerly Trophy winner, given annually to the student-athlete voted the most outstanding collegiate football player in the state of Mississippi. He is the first offensive lineman to ever receive the accolade.
"It's such an honor. I can't believe I won," Jackson said. "Usually, linemen don't get this type of recognition. This is something I'm very proud of, but without my teammates and coaches, I wouldn't have won this."
The award haul for Jackson kicked into high gear last week, when he was tabbed as the Kent Hull Trophy recipient, given to the state's top offensive lineman. Jackson is a three-time 2013 SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, becoming the first league lineman to receive three or more selections in the same year since former Bulldog Derek Sherrod in 2010. Jackson becomes the first offensive lineman to win the award.
"There is no one more deserving than Gabe," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "His work ethic, attention to detail have gotten him to where he is today. As a coach, you couldn't ask for a better leader. He's done everything we have asked of him since he's been here."
Jackson has been the anchor of the offensive line that is helping produce one of the most prolific offensive campaigns in program history. MSU is averaging 426.2 yards a game, on pace to break the single-season record of 422.0 yards per contest, set in 1982. The Bulldogs' 5,114 total yards are good for second on the program's single-season chart behind the 2010 squad's 5,217 yards. Depending on how he performs in the offseason workouts, Jackson is projected to be selected in the late first round to early second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
"He has worked relentlessly to become a great player. There is no doubt he is one of the best offensive linemen in the country," Mississippi State offensive line coach John Hevesy said. "As a coach, he is everything you look for in a complete player. He will be fun to watch on Sundays."
On the ground, Jackson has paved the way for 26 rushing touchdowns this season, tied for the fifth most in a year in program history. Through the air, his pocket protection has provided time for Mississippi State to average 240.3 aerial yards a game, on pace to break the single-season record of 239.7 passing yards per game set in 1978.
Individually, against No. 1 Alabama, the Liberty, Miss., native graded out at 86 percent with three knockdown blocks. A week earlier, at No. 11 Texas A&M, Jackson was graded at 89 percent with four knockdowns while helping MSU to 556 yards of total offense, the most during a Southeastern Conference contest under Mullen.
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