NFL Draft Diamonds

NFL Draft, NFL Trade Rumors, Scouting Reports & More

2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Matthew Jackson, LB/S, Eastern Kentucky

2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Matthew Jackson, LB/S, Eastern Kentucky
Matthew Jackson is a playmaker and the face of the Eastern Kentucky defense. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Matthew Jackson
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 210 lbs.
  • Position: LB/S
  • College: Eastern Kentucky University
  • Twitter: Mattajack12
  • Instagram: Mattajack12

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
My major has been Sports Management with a concentration in Psychology. I have participated in several community service events. I have gone into local elementary schools and read books, and also participated in sports camps to help teach kids about football.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
They would say my relentless ability, and that I’m a competitive hard worker. I’m always going to be the best teammate and help coach up some of those around me.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I am one of the leaders on our team who leads by example. I will be a 3-time team captain this year. I’m used in a variety of ways on our team which is one of my key attributes. Under our current coaches, I’ve been used in the nickel joker package, as the bandit, stand-up edge rusher or WLB. I’ve also displayed success and longevity as a special teams contributor. My strong suit is my ability to play the gunner on punts and kickoffs, being the first down the field to make the play.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Bailey Zappe is the first person that comes to mind. Before he was breaking records at Western Kentucky, I played against him when he was at Houston Baptist. He has a great ability to diagnose plays, dissect defenses and move down the field. He definitely earned my respect. 

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Tucker Schroder is a powerful member of our offensive line. He shows relentless effort and is dominant at the point of attack.

QB Parker McKinney is a great leader, and he shows how smart he is by adapting and directing our team to wins.

Dakota Allen also impresses me. Being moved from QB to TE, he continued to give excellent effort. He showed grit and determination to be a key contributor to our offense.

Matthew Jackson Highlights

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
One of the key moments in my life was when my brother’s father passed away. I have 6 brothers, and I’m the second oldest in my family. This occurred in the summer of 2017. It was a challenging time for my family. I struggled to find my role in the situation, wondering where I should be and what I should be doing. As I was helping my brother go through grief, I was deciding on whether to stay at EKU or transfer closer to home and help out with the family. I wanted to help support my family. Yet, through discussions, we decided that it was best for me to continue playing for EKU. I had previously only played special teams. Yet, as that year unfolded, I started to get a much bigger role on the team. I’m sure it was for the best that I stayed with this program.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
If I didn’t play football, I would probably run track or even try out on the bowling team at a different school. I’ve been running track since I was younger and even won states in high school in the 4×100 and 4×200 and came in 3rd in the 4×400. I was the anchor leg on all the races that you are able to watch on YouTube. I also ran for EKU. I’ve competed in the long jump, triple jump, 100-meter race outdoor, 60 meters indoor, and 4×100 relay. I’ve just probably fallen in love with bowling probably when I got to college and would seriously invest into the sport. 

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m most proud of being a 3-time captain and the face of the team, aside from the quarterback being the face of the offense. This is huge to me because of the effect it has on not only my peers but on the community. A lot of people text/dm me telling me how much they love the way I play and how that my energy builds up their old memories of playing football.

Some of my achievements include making the All-American team and finishing among the 16 best defensive players in the nation as a Buck Buchanan Finalist. Those are unreal achievements that I didn’t know I could accomplish. It’s why I play, how I play, and do what I do outside of football. Being in the record books at EKU is huge to me too. All of my hard work and pain will pay off soon.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
One of the most memorable plays of my college career would be when I hawked Central Arkansas’s top receiver, Tyler Hudson, and that was when I was about 15 yards behind him. I remember like it was yesterday. I was in zone coverage. I was supposed to pop my feet and just clear the run. There was a hitch from one receiver, and my teammate missed the tackle. I was the next closest person to the play. As the receiver was running for the touchdown, everyone thought he was going to score, but I started running him down, thinking I had him easily. As I started to catch him, I got close and tried to rake the ball. I knew their ball security wasn’t that good throughout the whole game. As I ripped at the ball, he surprisingly clinched while getting tackled and fell to the ground.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
My favorite professional team was the Seattle Seahawks for a very long time, back when Matt Hasselbeck was the quarterback all the way up until Russell Wilson’s departure. When I was younger my favorite player to watch was Kam Chancellor. I enjoyed the way he was a leader and how much energy he played with. I strive to be like him because in high school I played a lot of safety. Chancellor was a leader of one of the best defenses that ever played “The legend of BOOM”. I used to get jitters watching him. He was very consistent.

I also try to model my game like Micah Parsons because I’m more of an ideal all-around player. I also love the way Marshawn Lynch played as well as Aaron Donald. Just two of the most relentless players that have ever played. They are so physical. 

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
I’m a very old school soul when it comes to music. I would say I have three favorite artists: Luther Vandross, John Legend, and lastly Chief Keef. I’m the type of guy before pre-game warm ups that listens to calm music, R&B, and right before we are about to go out there it’s more hip hop. 

What is your favorite comfort food?
Pizza and Gummies. Apollo’s Pizza is a big contributor to my love of pizza. Their pizza is really good. I also love the thick deep-dish pizza from Chicago. As far as gummies go, I would just say sour gummies, the brand doesn’t matter. Trollies are the best though.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
Will Smith is my favorite actor. My favorite TV show is Rick and Morty. 

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I stream on twitch: King_mj_33 is my twitch. I play the game Apex Legends, Madden, and just fun games with my brothers. It’s a huge stress relief for me. I also know how to roller skate very well. I’ve been skating since I was young. I can also DJ. 

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
What motivates me the most is my daughter. Things aren’t always the best with me and her mom. So, seeing her and spending time with her is everything to me. When I graduate college, the reason why is for her. I want to make a living for her and have her life stress free. I play football to provide for myself and my family, to one day make millions and set generational wealth for my family.


Leave a Reply