NFL

Texas announces hiring of Jacksonville Jaguars WR coach Chris Jackson

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receivers coach Chris Jackson is leaving Florida to accept the same position with the Texas Longhorns, according to multiple reports Tuesday.

The school confirmed the news Tuesday night, with Jackson also holding the title of passing game coordinator.

“We are passionate about Chris Jackson being a Longhorn,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “He is such a skilled coach with loads of football and life experience that we will benefit from having on our staff. Chris is a passionate guy with attention to detail who took a unique approach to coaching but is as good as they remain when it comes to developing and preparing receivers. He is a highly respected coach with a great work ethic who is a student of the game and a proven leader who not only helps his players improve on the field, but also builds strong relationships with them. During his time in the NFL, he has worked with some exceptional coaches, all of whom have quickly recognized his talent in the profession. Not only has he coached players at the highest level over the past five years in the NFL, he knows the position well after being an NFL veteran, All-Pac-10 and 1,000-yard receiver himself. He played at Washington State with Jeff Banks, so he’s a guy we’re very familiar with and know he’ll would be a great addition to our staff.We are excited to f let him go.”

The news comes more than two weeks after former Texas wide receivers coach Brennan Marion was officially announced as the offensive coordinator at UNLV and eight days after Jackson apparently dismissed reports linking him to the Longhorns.

But that was when Jacksonville was still in the playoffs, and after their elimination of the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, Jackson was free to begin finalizing his deal to join Sarkisian’s staff.

Jackson’s association with the program is that he played with tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Banks at Washington State in 1996 and 1997, including to the Rose Bowl, which was led by Ryan Leaf in the latter season.

“My main thought in this move was initially just young men,” Jackson said. “The excitement and the opportunity to coach at the college level at a school with the notoriety that Texas has is a great opportunity. To work with young men who come from 17 to 18 years old to leave at 22 and give them a platform and give them an opportunity to grow not only as football players but as young men, that’s what I was drawn to. I’ve always been passionate about that and I’ve been able to do that at the NFL level, but there’s something super exciting about the young men that I can hopefully inspire and lead through the position I’ve just left. Some of them want to pursue professional careers and just need some of that guidance and leadership to get there and I’ve seen that not only as a player but as a coach now. That’s the job for me – young men and development.

“Coach Sarkisian has always been phenomenal and a mastermind behind the offense. Being a wide receiver myself, I’m really just looking to lock all the way into his thought processes of why he does things and how he does things so I can just be an extension of him. He’s been successful not only at the college level but also in the NFL, so I’m just going to embrace it all and add whatever I can in terms of my experience and thought process. But for me, it was easy to come to Texas and work under Sark and with his great staff. He’s done it at the collegiate level and the NFL level, and I know he’s turning the culture around there. I just want to be a part of that.”

After a long professional career primarily in the Arena Football League that included 13,355 receiving yards and 325 touchdowns, Jackson coached wide receivers at a high school in Arizona before landing a job as a defensive assistant with the Chicago Bears in 2019. Jackson previously spent time with the Bears during 2018 training camp thanks to the NFL’s Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship program.

Jackson moved to an assistant wide receivers coach role in Chicago for two seasons before Doug Pederson hired him in Jacksonville last year for what turned out to be a successful season for wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones:

In his one season with the Jaguars, Jackson guided the wide receiver unit to become one of only three in the NFL to have two players with over 80 receptions in 2022 in Christian Kirk (84) and Zay Jones (82). Both totals were in the top 10 in Jacksonville single-season history with Kirk ranking eighth and Jones 10th. Kirk also notched his first 1,000-yard receiving season with 1,108 for 14th in the league to go along with eight touchdowns, which ranked fifth in Jaguars history. Meanwhile, Jones recorded 823 receiving yards and five touchdowns, and Marvin Jones, Jr., added 46 receptions for 529 yards and three touchdowns.

So while Jackson has no experience in college football, particularly as a recruiter, he is a Mater Dei alum, providing a tie to the talent-laden California program, and his rapid rise through the NFL ranks suggests the ability to adapt quickly to his new role on Forty Acres.

“I know Texas is football,” Jackson added. “That’s what I know, and that’s coming from a California boy. I knew back then people never left Texas, especially if you were one of the best players in Texas, that’s where you went. I want play a role in helping Coach Sark and the staff continue to get back to that aspect where Texas is the only place these Texas kids want to go. Austin is a great city. My oldest son went to St. Edwards for two years so I got the opportunity to have him placed there and look around. I’m very drawn to the city, the lake and downtown is beautiful. I’m just excited to be a part of it and help it continue with developing the tradition in Texas.”

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