Plenty of Kansas high school football juniors were invited to Manhattan on March 3 for the Wildcats’ Junior Day event, and one of those in attendance was St. Thomas Aquinas running back Cameron Jackson of Overland Park.
The Kansas City metro prospect was also flanked by teammates Joe O’Leary, Tate Raboin, Joe Michalski and Javier Derritt. Their highly-touted teammate, Jayden Russell, was instead visiting Missouri, but made his trip to Kansas State this past weekend.
Meanwhile, Jackson enjoyed his time in the Flint Hills and continues to become more interested in Bill Snyder’s program.
“Yeah, it was real nice,” he said. “It definitely strengthened my opinion about them.”
The purpose of Junior Day is to give prospects an introduction to what life as a student-athlete is like at K-State - from the academic side of things to the football part, particularly how much dedication it takes to fully thrust yourself into the demands of the culture that has been established.
But another part of that culture created by Snyder is the continuity, the familiarity and the consistency in both people and process. On recruiting trips, Kansas State magnifies all of this for prospects.
“The facilities were outstanding,” Jackson said. “Also, how they really take care of you and express that everyone’s a part of one big family. From the classroom, to the meeting rooms, to the field, everyone cares about you.”
Jackson has yet to discuss a possible offer with the Wildcat staff, but the coaches have made a request that he participate in one of the camps during the month of June where they will evaluate 2019 prospects with a closer eye.
That will be his opportunity to earn an offer. At the very least, he might be able to elicit a preferred walk-on opportunity or gray-shirt offer. After all, K-State will be in dire need of replenishing the running back position, especially if the Wildcats will be using two in the backfield together moving forward.
All in all, it was a positive trip for Jackson, and he was able to gather more information and learn more about the football experience in Manhattan.
“I enjoyed the talks I had with everyone and Coach Snyder,” he said. “They talked about what some of the expectations are for the players, in and outside of the classroom and how their weight room system works.”
The Wildcats have had success at St. Thomas Aquinas High before and will want to continue to do so with the talent that the high school program regularly churns out.
That, in itself, will likely give Jackson some kind of opportunity at Kansas State. But his talent demands it as well, whether that is as a preferred walk-on who has to earn his way while on campus or if it's impressing the staff enough in June to grab an offer immediately.
Regardless, he’ll be someone to know and monitor for the class of 2019.