Vols more than skin deep for Malik Jackson

‘I’m really excited and happy that it turned out so well’

Tennessee's Malik Jackson (97) and UT Martin quarterback Derek Carr (15) both watch to see if the pass was complete during action Saturday, Sep. 4, 2010 in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

Photo by Michael Patrick

Tennessee's Malik Jackson (97) and UT Martin quarterback Derek Carr (15) both watch to see if the pass was complete during action Saturday, Sep. 4, 2010 in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.

High on his back, just under the right shoulder, was the temporary evidence.

Malik Jackson, like the rest of his teammates, has immersed himself in the Vol for Life program, and the sawdust on his shirt provided Exhibit A on Saturday morning.

Just a little lower on the defensive tackle’s right arm was the permanent proof of Jackson’s dedication to Tennessee heading into his second and final season with the school.

Right above the elbow a ‘Power T’ logo leads down to another new design with ‘VOLS’ stretching across Jackson’s forearm, ink that’s now about two months old but he was proud to show off during a break as the senior class put a wrap on a Habitat for Humanity project Saturday morning.

“I said the school I graduated from, that’s what I’m going to get tatted,” Jackson said. “I’m glad I didn’t get a (Southern California) one, I’d be looking stupid right now.”

Instead Jackson is looking pretty smart for taking advantage of the NCAA penalties for the Trojans that allowed him to transfer last summer without sitting out a year, and the Vols also made out well by turning him into a defensive tackle midway through his debut season with the team.

The partnership has almost certainly worked out better than either side could have imagined to this point, with Jackson providing invaluable versatility for a defensive line short on depth and UT helping turn him into one of the most talked-about tackles in the SEC with preseason hype coming from all angles this summer.

All of that obviously wasn’t part of Jackson’s plan when he was an end at Southern California fighting for playing time, and even a little more than a year ago the likelihood of him building cabinets in South Knoxville, inking his allegiance to the Vols or just playing on the interior would have been a surprise.

“I would have thought you guys were lying or something, I don’t know,” Jackson said. “I wouldn’t have believed you.

“You know, it was a big jump. I took this leap of faith not knowing what would happen coming over here, and it turned out really great for me. I’m really excited and happy that it turned out so well. It was a rough journey, you know, and I didn’t know it was going to end like this. I had to put in a lot of hard work, but it paid off in the end so I’m really happy.”

There’s a lot more hard work to put in before the Vols get back on the field, which Jackson was quick to point out as he tries to add about five pounds to his frame to get to 280 before the season.

He’s also still experimenting with different roles during offseason workouts, sliding out at times when the second team comes in with junior-college transfer Maurice Couch at tackle to take some reps at his old spot on the edge. Jackson’s ability to fill multiple spots up front is no less valuable than it was last year, now that UT has lost Montori Hughes off the roster, and it’s no secret Jackson will be on the short list of players counted on the most this fall.

But Jackson has made it clear in more ways than one he’ll represent the Vols anyway he can.

“That was a sad story, I was sad to see (Hughes) go,” Jackson said. “But (nothing) really (changes). We’re going to keep the bus moving.

“He’ll be missed, but we’ve got young guys in here and people who can make up the slack for him. It’s a sad loss, but we’ve got to keep the ball rolling.”

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 36

FWBVol writes:

Jackson might have started his college career at Southern Cal, but he has proven that he is All Vol and I'm glad he is part of our program.

I'm expecting him to be better this year than he was last year as he has now been through the fires of the SEC and will benefit greatly from having the year under his belt.

daniellovesutfootball writes:

“I said the school I graduated from, that’s what I’m going to get tatted,” Jackson said. “I’m glad I didn’t get a (Southern California) one, I’d be looking stupid right now.”

I think that about sums it up :) GO VOLS!!!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

At least he didn't trade his gold pants for them.

M_VOL writes:

I'm guessing the bones never lie.

LJS1984 writes:

Going to be key to keep him healthy. Also, I'm a big fan of those UT Martin uniforms. Obviously, a carbon copy of the Auburn uniforms. When are some of these schools going to quit wearing those ugly modern looking uniforms? It should be pretty obvious by now that the traditional powers that are winning titles year in and year out have worn the same uniform for decades. The uniform probably has nothing to do with it, but it does have a nice mystique.

rockytopwestone writes:

Sounds like a cool tattoo to me !

BigBadVol writes:

So proud this young man is all Vol! We need more like him.

OrangeDew writes:

KNS, Where's the photo of the tattoos? A photo would go well with the story.

daniellovesutfootball writes:

in response to OrangeDew:

KNS, Where's the photo of the tattoos? A photo would go well with the story.

Dew...don't you know that requires more work? Apparently KNS likes to do as little as possible to get a story out lol

allvol32 writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

One thing that is very clear here is that you are a troll and an idiot.

Vol fans can be very proud to have Malik Jackson as a VFL! He is a class act and a fine young man.

The only claim to fame that 02 and a few others seem to have is VTFL - Vol Troll For Life.

BIGORANGEDOG writes:

Outstanding comments from Malik! I'm ready to see him back on the field and causing problems for the O's. There is however, an area of improvement that needs to be evident from the first snap to the last one next January.
He has to focus on stopping those unneccesary personal fouls that plagued him last season. That alone will raise his stock with the Pros and stop unearned yardage. NO BIG PLAYS - GBO!

iadvol writes:

In the case of USC,the NCAA rules allow juniors (not applicable this year) and seniors to transfer without sitting out a year at another college.. Wonder if USC has any dline or lbs interested in joining Malik for a year? Would be nice to add some depth to the front 7!

TommyJack writes:

Glad he's aboard.

GerryOP writes:

Kiffin for Jackson ... turned out to be a pretty good trade.

give_him_6 writes:

Malik...we're all glad you came east too. You have shown to everyone that you are All Vol. Good luck on upcoming season big fella!!!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe just a little but the proof will be on display this season how dedicated he really is.

Vol For Life!

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

For the most part, a tattoo is a permament reminder of a temporary feeling. However in this instance, I totally agree with his choice of ink!

Now, if I could just get this "Gertrude" Tatt off my chest, my better half would let me take my shirt off in pubic more often.

GO VOLS!!!

esarmstrong#231516 writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's what it means to him.

eVOLved writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Going to be key to keep him healthy. Also, I'm a big fan of those UT Martin uniforms. Obviously, a carbon copy of the Auburn uniforms. When are some of these schools going to quit wearing those ugly modern looking uniforms? It should be pretty obvious by now that the traditional powers that are winning titles year in and year out have worn the same uniform for decades. The uniform probably has nothing to do with it, but it does have a nice mystique.

Auburn just won a title with a similar uni.

HtownVol writes:

Jackson will be a 1st round pick next year.

I would believe Malik when he says "VFL" since he has proven it, unlike the basketball recruit Kevin Ware who said he is VFL and then commited to a few different teams after that.

OwensboroVol writes:

You guys will have to help me on this (My memory isn't what it used to be) but did We recruit Jackson out of High School? I am so glad he is here now. I wish we could have had him for at least one additional year. He learned to play in the SEC last year and now he will be a force this year. Would have been nice to have had another force year.

RoadTrip writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Kiffin for Jackson ... turned out to be a pretty good trade.

Amen to that brother!

VFL!!

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

You guys will have to help me on this (My memory isn't what it used to be) but did We recruit Jackson out of High School? I am so glad he is here now. I wish we could have had him for at least one additional year. He learned to play in the SEC last year and now he will be a force this year. Would have been nice to have had another force year.

I don't think so. He was from California and heading to play for Pete Carroll. Being a highly-ranked player, I'm sure he got some letters and communications from Fulmer's staff, but unless there was mutual interest leading to a camp or a visit, we probably spent our time on others.

1Volunteer writes:

in response to LJS1984:

Going to be key to keep him healthy. Also, I'm a big fan of those UT Martin uniforms. Obviously, a carbon copy of the Auburn uniforms. When are some of these schools going to quit wearing those ugly modern looking uniforms? It should be pretty obvious by now that the traditional powers that are winning titles year in and year out have worn the same uniform for decades. The uniform probably has nothing to do with it, but it does have a nice mystique.

Until about 40 years ago, the Martin uniforms looked just like UTK's, and they were the UTMB Volunteers. To promote their own identity, they changed their nickname to Pacers (later Skyhawks) and added blue to the orange and white. I agree it is hard to make a three-colored scheme look as sharp as the simple two colors.

VolGrad writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, you're not.

But one thing is quite clear from your "deduction." Syllogisms are not really your thing.

GBO!

Voluvr writes:

Here's a Voluvr Nugget...Check it out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEXx0W...

PHAT_VOL writes:

in response to Voluvr:

Here's a Voluvr Nugget...Check it out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEXx0W...

Liked it TKS, GO VOLS !!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Voluvr:

Here's a Voluvr Nugget...Check it out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEXx0W...

I really enjoyed that after I hit the mute button.lol

VOLliven2it writes:

Good for Malik; good for UT. I look forward to seeing him play and lead this fall on our defense. I care much less on what is pasted on the outside. It's heart and the inside in the end which matter most. He has shown a lot. GO Malik, GO VOLS!

VolfanClinton writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Kiffin for Jackson ... turned out to be a pretty good trade.

I wish Kiffin was still our coach...at least we were beating Georgia and South Carolina !!!

allntl1#565211 writes:

in response to OrangeDew:

KNS, Where's the photo of the tattoos? A photo would go well with the story.

Showing a photo of a tatoo on a college player would be an NCAA violation due to the fact that it is construed as advertising for the tatoo parlor without the NCAA receiving some type of compensation.

Groundedvol writes:

This manbeast was unstoppable at the O&W game. Hope that says more for him than our OL.

Theo writes:

Glad to have Malik and super proud he is a VFL. Will, however, be very glad when this tatoo thing goes away (as it will undoubtedly do). These tatoos all the athletes have are really pretty nasty and I don't think they'll be glad they have them when they have to go out in the real world and expecially when they are about sixty and the skin has sagged to the point where they are unreadable.
On another note - The University of Tennessee is UT not UTK. All campuses other than the flagship university of the state of Tennessee need to put their location. UT does not.

VolGrad writes:

in response to LaneKiffinFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, I remember Poole sitting on the bench bidding his time behind the backups of Brown and Oku on that lame-train, too. As it turned out..., best 4th string RB I've ever seen! 1000+ yard rusher behind a freshman dominated OL on a 1st year coaches squad ain't bad, eh? BAY-LOL!

Go Vols!

CroKev writes:

in response to LaneKiffinFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How's that Kiffin thing working out for ya?

VolfanClinton writes:

in response to CroKev:

How's that Kiffin thing working out for ya?

Hey...I wish Kiffin was still here...at least we were beating South Carolina and Georgia...Kiffin is twice the coach Dooley is !!!

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