FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas added its 19th pledge for the Class of 2021 on Thursday night with the addition of Royse City (Texas) High School four-star wide receiver Ketron Jackson.
Jackson helped Royse City to a 9-3 record in 2019 after moving in from Lancaster (Texas) High School. Royse City Head Coach David Petroff feels Arkansas is getting a great player and more.
“They are getting a bonafide Division-I football player,” Petroff said. “He has got great size (6-2, 185), great speed and explosiveness. This is a guy, I’ve had kids I felt like can play Division-I football, but with Ketron you are like this kid can play in the NFL. I feel like that’s the type kid they are getting.
“He has the work ethic, mentality and just a great kid. He’s a blessing for us coaches to say the least. Makes good grades. I don’t have to worry about his academics. Then he goes out there and blocks, be physical and is strong. He’s the whole package, the real deal. That’s what kind of kid they are getting.”
Petroff was very impressed with the job Justin Stepp and Kendal Briles did recruiting Jackson. Stepp coaches the wide receivers for the Hogs and Briles has the quarterbacks and is offensive coordinator.
“Those guys did a great job,” Petroff said. “I thought Coach Stepp was gonna take him back to Arkansas with him the first time he met him. That was the whole approach and it worked. They did a great job and that was one of the key things from the get-go. Ketron felt like he was their No. 1 guy on the board at receiver and he wants to be a guy that can come in and play.
“I’ve talked to Coach Briles. The funny thing with Coach Briles is I’m 46 now. Coach Briles was in middle school when I did my student teaching and I did it at Stephenville High School and at the middle school with his dad (Art). It’s a small world so I remember Kendal running track there in middle school.”
But that wasn’t the end of the relationship with Petroff and the Briles family.
“I was at Waco Midway for nine years while Coach Briles and his staff got Baylor turned around,” Petroff said. “I shared some of those things with Ketron the things they did and things they were able to get accomplished. Not only just with the receivers, but no one thought you could win at Baylor. Grant Teaff was gone and Baylor was mired in just years of losing and losing. The whole town of Waco was just kinda down and saw it change right in front of your eyes. It started with the football program then the whole town changed.
“I sent a lot of kids over there to Coach Briles. I was the defensive coordinator [at Midway]. Gosh, I had a countless number of kids. At one point there was seven or eight kids on the roster at Baylor. They got that thing turned around. If they can do that at Baylor they can do that at Arkansas. And I shared some of those things with him. I shared with him some of the challenges you are gonna face there being in the SEC and a new coaching staff. We were honest and up front and he took the ball and ran with it.”
The fact that Jackson had multiple offers to programs that are winning now such as Texas, Texas A&M, Auburn, LSU, Alabama and many others, but chose the challenge of Arkansas didn’t surprise Petroff.
“That is his character, his make-up, that is what kind of kid he is,” Petroff said. “He’s not a afraid of challenge. He’s not afraid of taking that on. He wants to be a difference maker. He has been that here with us. We had a good team coming back and he made us better. We think we’re gonna be great this year with Ketron and some of the other kids we have. That’s him and the fact he wants to play. He wants to get involved.
“Texas has been on him hard. Texas has always been a program that he has admired growing up here in Texas. We talked about the positives and negatives with Texas too. He chose Arkansas so that says a lot about him and his commitment there.”
Jackson and the Bulldogs will open the 2020 season on Friday, Sept. 25, when they play host to Frisco (Texas) Centennial.