It’s easy to highlight athletes for their exploits on the playing field.
Touchdowns, home runs, deep three-pointers, and the like, get everyone’s attention.
But behind the jersey and under the helmet there are great people who make it a priority to do more than just play a sport.
University of Miami senior defensive lineman Demetrius Jackson is one of those great people who has committed himself to do more than just sacking quarterbacks, evident by his being named to the watch list for the 2018 Wuerffel Trophy.
Named for former University of Florida, 1996 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel, The Wuerffel Trophy is known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service” and is awarded to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
Jackson has represented all of those characteristics since he brought his talents to Coral Gables from Miami Booker T. Washington High School.
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound lineman graduated this past December while holding one of the highest grade-point averages on the Hurricanes’ roster. Jackson recently made a post on social media that showed an email exchange with a school administrator about his pursuing another degree.
His philanthropic efforts have been just as impressive.
He created a foundation – “Young Men of Tomorrow” – that mentors young men in his neighborhood of Overtown. He also works with children at local Boys & Girls Club of Miami.
Jackson’s dedication to the community truly showed this past November when he organized a free turkey giveaway event for members of his neighborhood.
The act itself was impressive, but Jackson attended the event despite being on crutches due to the season-ending surgery he had to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
The 13th is almost here🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾, pic.twitter.com/jla9DqUWJJ
— Djack (@F5_Jackson) November 6, 2017
That’s why he’s received UM’s Community Service Man of the Year each of the past two seasons.
On the field, Jackson has become one of Miami’s most versatile and dependable defensive playmakers.
This past season, he racked up 18 total tackles – with 7.5 tackles-for-loss – 3.5 sacks, and an interception in seven games of action. His 2017 season was cut short because of the knee injury, but he’s been working out with the team since the spring and is reported to be ready for the coming fall.
With Jackson’s addition to the Wuerffel watch list, the Hurricanes now have seven players on a total of 11 preseason award watch lists.
Jackson joins senior Tyler Gauthier, who was named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) and Rimington Trophy (best center), junior Travis Homer, who was named to the watch list for both the Maxwell Award (college football’s player of the year) and the Doak Walker Award (top running back), senior defensive back Michael Jackson (Thorpe Award as nation’s top defensive back, Nagurski Award as college football’s defensive player of the year), senior safety Jaquan Johnson (Nagurski, Thorpe and Bednarik Award as top defensive player), junior linebacker Shaq Quarterman (Bednarik, Nagurski, Butkus Award as nation’s top linebacker) and junior Ahmmon Richards (Maxwell Award and Biletnikoff Award as nation’s best receiver) as preseason honorees.