Colorado State Football: Is Warren Jackson The Next Great Rams Wide Receiver?
The junior wide receiver might be in line to follow Rashard Higgins, Michael Gallup and Preston Williams as a truly dynamic pass catcher.
Why Jackson might be CSU’s best next man up.
2018 wasn’t kind to the Colorado State Rams, but it wasn’t without some bright spots. For the fifth straight year, a CSU wide receiver earned first-team all-conference honors, though there is now some question as to whether Mike Bobo’s offense can continue that streak.
Depending on your perspective, the fact that Colorado State brings back just 36% of last season’s offensive production for 2019 is either a refreshing clean slate or a grim harbinger of things to come, though the current staff has certainly recruited well enough for Rams fans to feel optimistic despite the potential hiccups. E.J. Scott and Nikko Hall, three-star recruits in 2017 and 2018, respectively, had a fair share of playing time as freshmen and they’ll be joined by another SEC transfer, Nate Craig-Myers, as well as Warren Jackson.
Listed at 6-foot-6 and 219 pounds, Jackson is quite literally one of the biggest names to watch on the short list of players with significant breakout potential. You might recall, for instance, his big showing in Colorado State’s loss to Alabama back in 2017:
Though Michael Gallup and Olabisi Johnson did most of the heavy lifting that year, Jackson contributed a 75% catch rate and 17.7 yards per catch on 20 targets. He took another step forward in what could be characterized as Colorado State’s best stretch in 2018, too, collecting 17 of his 32 catches for 218 yards and four touchdowns against San Jose State, New Mexico and Boise State.
So why is Jackson the name to watch among a reloading unit with plenty of promise? Some of it is the catch radius that his size affords, which makes him a reasonable bet to approximate the highlight reels catches for which Gallup became known and the red zone threat that Preston Williams became last fall.
To this end, it’s worth noting that 68% of Jackson’s 47 career catches have gone for first downs. By comparison, Williams and Johnson finished at 63% and 72% last year, respectively.
More importantly, though, the departures of Williams, Johnson and running back Izzy Matthews — who combined for 281 targets — means that the ball has to go somewhere. The Rams have not been shy about identifying their number one receiver and feeding him the ball in recent years: Williams led the nation with 169 targets in 2018, Gallup had 167 targets the year before and, though he had just 117 in 2016, that was roughly two-and-a-half times as many as Johnson. Rashard Higgins (106) nearly doubled up Joe Hansley (56) in 2015, too.
With so many big-time pass catchers like Williams, KeeSean Johnson, and John Ursua leaving the Mountain West this fall, there’s an opportunity for new names to step up and become big-time stars. Considering recent history in Fort Collins, don’t be surprised if Jackson is a first-team all-conference performer come November.