VIDEO: Austin Holt and Datona Jackson sign their letters of intent.
VIDEO: Datona Jackson (UCLA) and Austin Holt (Idaho) talk about why they chose to sign their letters of intent with their respective schools.
VIDEO: Datona Jackson and Austin Holt talk about their time with the Roadrunners as they sign their letters of intent.
VIDEO: Head coach Jack Steptoe with his thoughts on Austin Holt signing with Idaho and Datona Jackson signing with UCLA
COD Football Sophomore defensive lineman Datona Jackson (Union City, OH Mississinawa Valley) has signed a letter of intent with the University of California, Los Angeles.
The 6-4, 270 pound defensive lineman from Mississinawa Valley High School in Union City, Ohio was named the Region IV All-California First Team Defense and first team All-Mountain Conference in his sophomore season of 2018. Jackson placed 2nd in conference and 15th in state in sacks with 8 on the season. Forcing a total of 51 yardage loss on his opponents, he placed 2nd in conference and 20th state. Jackson wore #58 in his freshman campaign with the Roadrunners then put on #8 in his sophomore season. He was selected the SCFA-Offensive Player of the Week for Jackson's performance at home on September 15 versus Cerritos, where he collected 8 tackles and 2 sacks resulting in a loss of 13 yards for his opponents.
Jackson stated the reasons he chose to join the Bruins, commenting, "They have like a world class degree so that was one of the main reasons and the coaching staff there was probably my favorite of all the schools I went to and those two things separated UCLA from every other school."
Roadrunners Athletic Counselor, Angel Meraz, and UCLA Class of 2004, was beyond excited that a student of hers would be menacing opposing offences on the field at the Rose Bowl beginning in 2019. "This is what you hope for, a student athlete, looking for an opportunity, building up their academic acumen, developing their athletic skill sets and then taking those gifts to the next level," commented Meraz. "And the fact that Datona has the opportunity to continue his education at an institution in which I, and many others in The Valley, are alums of, is even better. I think I need to get my season-ticket deposit in before Christmas."
Jackson commenting about his time with the Roadrunners, stating, "It was good. I'm glad I made my choice here, because I thought about going to another Community College before I came here, but everything turned out the way I wanted it to so I'm glad and if I had the option to do it again, I would."
The signing with UCLA represents one of the larger signings in program history for the Roadrunners, the most recent "Power Five" signing was former quarterback Stephen Johnson II, who signed with the Kentucky Wildcats in 2016 and led them to a Music City Bowl appearance in 2017. The most recent "Power Five" defensive signing was linebacker Robert Caldwell in 2012, who joined NC State.
Under fifth-year head coach Jack Steptoe, Desert finished the regular season with a record 4-6 overall and 2-3 in conference. The team was bestowed with four first team All-Mountain Conference honors and four second team All-Mountain Conference honors.
Coach Steptoe said, "It's pretty exciting to be here today and watch Datona sign with a Division One school." Continuing with, "(Datona) is a fantastic man, just a good gentleman, great character, works hard, really bared down within a year and a half to be able to graduate."
The University of California, Los Angeles is located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westwood. The UCLA Bruins play their home games at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and the team is coached by 2nd year veteran head coach, Chip Kelly. In the 2018 season, the Bruins concluded the year with a 3-9 overall record, with one of those key wins coming at the expense of crosstown rival, the University of Southern California (USC). The Bruins would finish 2018 with a 3-6 record in Conference play, finishing fifth in the South Division. The Bruins are in the Pacific-12 (Pac-12) of the NCAA Division I.
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