Shortly after the Chargers took him in the seventh round, running back Justin Jackson called Chargers.com to give his exclusive first interview as a member of the Bolts.
Chargers.com: It's been a long wait, but how does it feel to finally call yourself not only an NFL player, but more specifically, a Los Angeles Charger?
Jackson: It was amazing. All I needed was one team to believe in me and I'm very thankful the Chargers are giving me a shot. They definitely won't regret it. I'm just ready to go to the West Coast. It's going to be good weather and obviously, a great team with a great coaching staff and organization. I'm definitely looking forward to it.
Chargers.com: They have a pretty good tradition with running backs here. Look at LT. What does it mean to come here and play for this organization?
Jackson:Obviously they have a great tradition of running backs. I wore 21 in high school and college and partly because LT is one of my favorite running backs of all time. It's just fitting. I just hope that I can come in there and add to the room. I know they have some guys there already, but I hope to add to the room, do my part and hopefully (earn) a spot on the team.
Chargers.com: What's your running style? What are your strengths?
Jackson: I think I'm very versatile, I do a lot. I can catch the ball out of the backfield, step up in pass protection, and obviously, run the ball. I think I can help in all three areas, and special teams as well. I'm just looking to come in and add value. I make plays when plays need to be made in crunch time and in open space; make a guy miss and get those extra yards.
Chargers.com: You'll be coming in to complement Melvin Gordon, who is another Big Ten running back. What are your thoughts on Melvin, and how does the Big Ten help prepare running backs for the NFL?
Jackson:I played against Melvin my freshman year here at home. The game went down to the wire and he tore us up! But that was kind of my first big game bursting out on the scene because we beat them in a close game. It was a battle I was really looking forward to in my freshman year because he was a great running back doing great things. Obviously with the Big Ten, (you play) against great defenses every single week. They know you're going to try and run the ball and they have the best front sevens, conference-wise, that you're going to see. It's pretty tough, pretty difficult, but I think it just prepares you for the NFL where you're not going to have a lot of very large holes. You have to make something happen.
Chargers.com: They say people who go this late have chips on their shoulders. Is that true?
Jackson:I had a chip on my shoulder in college. I've always been doubted. Always. A lot of people told me I wouldn't be able to do much in college because I wasn't big enough; I wasn't fast enough, this or that. But I went on to have a pretty decent career. So, obviously, this late in the draft, it's tough. You're sitting there watching and thinking you did all you could do at the East-West Shrine Game, Combine and the pro day. You hear a lot of people say that you did well for yourself, but then you end up falling late. I knew that all I needed was one team to believe in me and that was the Chargers. So I'm very appreciative of that and at this point, it doesn't matter where you got picked. It's you go to camp, play football and compete for a spot. And that's all I'm looking forward to doing.
Chargers.com: This is your first chance to say something to your new fans. What do you want to tell Chargers fans?
Jackson:Hey, Chargers fans! I'm so happy I get to be a part of this foundation and this organization. One thing that I'll always do is I'll always fight for you and I'll always be loyal. I'm going to hopefully help the Chargers go to the next level and I'm really excited to meet this fanbase and definitely looking forward to getting this thing going.
Take a look at the Chargers' seventh-round pick, RB Justin Jackson, of Northwestern.