After a year where a combination of injury and necessity saw far too many young players take the field for Texas A&M football, the Aggies are banking on some serious upperclassman leadership for this upcoming season. Many of the players that project to infuse this edition of the A&M team with some much-needed maturity—both physical and otherwise—have been largely slept on by the majority of the nation. One of those players, however, is beginning to see a groundswell of hype—and for good reason.
Senior DT McKinnley Jackson has as good a chance as any in the nation to hear his name called on the first night of the 2024 NFL Draft, and it appears the Football Writers Association of America is recognizing his talent level. Jackson was just named, along with 90 other players, to a watchlist for the prestigious Outland Trophy, an award that recognizes the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman on either side of the ball.
Jackson’s dominance hasn’t quite been reflected in his numbers thus far in his A&M career, due to both the nature of the position he plays and several injuries. Nevertheless, his skill and sheer power are unquestionable. He is the type of talent that can wreck an opposing offense with his presence in the middle of the defensive line. Ever since the App State loss—still a sore spot for many fans—I have been saying that, had Jackson been available, the game would have turned out much differently.
Jackson’s sack numbers will doubtless be higher this year, provided he can stay healthy. He was a bigtime win over Alabama and LSU when he signed with the Aggies in early 2020, and played immediately for the Ags—recording a sack in his first game on the field. Hopefully, a consistent presence in the middle of the Aggie DL for Jackson will bolster what should be a great unit overall, and his individual dominance will be recognized in the form of this award by the end of the season.