5,440 rush yards.
41 rushing touchdowns.
Second player in Big Ten history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons.
With stats like that, it's hard to believe Justin Jackson had to wait five picks from the end of the draft to hear his name called. But luckily for him, the Los Angeles Chargers selected the former Northwestern running back 251st overall. As it turned out, the team felt pretty lucky as well.
"(He was a) highly-productive Big Ten running back in both rushing and receiving," mentioned General Manager Tom Telesco. "His production is off the charts. (He's a) great kid, very smart, obviously at Northwestern. Drafting him in the seventh round, it was pretty exciting that Justin was there and we had a chance to draft him. We think he has a great opportunity with the way the roster is right now."
So with numbers like that, why did Jackson have to wait so long?
"Sometimes, the measurables - height, weight, speed - sometimes those don't add up," Head Coach Anthony Lynn explained. "But one of the things to me that's hard to measure is the young man's heart, and he showed heart every year that he was at Northwestern. His production showed that."
Lynn and Telesco were clearly fans of what Jackson did on the field. He left Northwestern as the most prolific running back in school history. In 2017, Jackson rushed for 1,311 yards with 11 touchdowns. Additionally, he hauled in 44 passes for 276 yards.
"Number one thing I liked about him was his production," Lynn continued. "He's highly productive and very consistent. There's a pattern of success with this young man. He's 200-pounds, (6-0), so he's not a big back, but he can make people miss. He has great vision so I can just see him making a lot of first downs in our league."
Jackson looks to complement a running back corps headed by Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. As a former running back himself, Lynn believes the skillset that Jackson provides will be beneficial to the Chargers offense.
"I think the backs that we have are versatile," he said. "I just think he just adds to that room with what he can do…. I would say he's more of a space back than Melvin. I think Austin has some space and agility in him to run in space. But this guy, I wouldn't just measure running between the tackles with him. I think you can get him on the perimeter, (and) you can get him one-on-one with linebackers with his receiving skills."