Thanks to a couple familiar faces Merrick Jackson felt like he was at home from the second he stepped foot on the University of Minnesota campus this year.
Prior to committing to Minnesota, Jackson played at Iowa Western Community College with Gophers Cody Poock and Ace Rogers.
"It means a lot," said Jackson. "I feel like if I would have shown up at any other school I would not have gotten the same feeling that I got here. It was a hard adjustment getting used to a new college and they made that pretty easy."
Rogers had Jackson move in with him providing a family feel right away for the transfer.
"We have become a lot closer than we were at Iowa Western. Just to be living under the same roof and hanging out with the same friends. He has been a positive influence on me," Jackson said.
Jackson was close with Poock when they played together and remembers him standing out right away when he met him in Iowa.
"He had that long flowing hair. Kind of reminded me of Rapunzel," Jackson said with a laugh.
Poock had strong words to say about Jackson as soon as he committed last year telling a local media outlet he thought Jackson could be `scary good.' The big reason is when Jackson first came to Iowa Western he weighed 405 pounds and would have to leave the field after a few snaps. Now Jackson is down to 320 pounds and is coming off a monster season where he was named NJCAA First Team All-American after recording 70 tackles and 7.5 sacks.
"Cody is a great player," Jackson said. "To have him have that confidence in me is going to make me want to play in front of him that much more."
Just how scary can Jackson be? As a big defensive tackle he also said he has recorded an interception every year he has played football.
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