Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

Sept. 8, 2003

by Patrick T. Walsh, USC Sports Information

Every year you hear about the star players on the football team, the ones that make the big plays, that get all the interviews, the ones that, on each Saturday, little boys dream of growing up to be like. But you hardly ever hear about the ones that wait in the shadows of those big name players, waiting and hoping for their chance to step into the spotlight. As the 2003 season gets underway, Jamacia Jackson is finally getting his chance to shine. The redshirt junior from Sumter, S.C., has spent the past few years in the shadow of former teammate Rashad Faison.

“I’m looking forward to this year,” said Jackson. “I think I’ve paid my dues. Last year, I played behind Rashad [Faison] and he was a great teacher. I learned a lot about the game from him last year. We’ve got a new defensive look this year and I’m looking forward to going out there, doing my part, and winning some ballgames.”

Winning some ballgames is never an easy task – especially in the football powerhouse that is the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks have five top 25 opponents looming on their schedule this year, including the 15th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers today.

“I’m not looking forward to any game in particular this year; I’m just looking forward to all of them,” Jackson said. “Last week we faced Louisiana-Lafayette and came away with a win. This week, we face a very tough Virginia squad. Next week is at Georgia and that is always a big game. We don’t have an easy week this year. I’m looking forward to competing. I’m glad we are in the SEC because we get a challenging schedule with top teams playing us every single week. We just need to stay focused and if we do, we could be pretty good this year.”

That tough schedule benefits the Gamecocks just a little this year as Carolina faces Virginia in just the second of eight home games during the 2003 campaign.

“The eight home games this season will be great,” Jackson said. “We’re going to have Williams-Brice Stadium packed every week and that will be a huge advantage for us. We’ve got tough competition every week this year but we’ll have that crowd behind us and that’s a big motivating factor in any game.”

Following a tough 2002 season, Jackson and the rest of the Gamecock squad is ready to return to their winning ways.

“Last year was a really disappointing year, especially compared to the previous two years,” said Jackson. “Those two Outback Bowl Champion teams were great defensive teams. But last year we didn’t play up to expectations. This year, we’ve changed some things up and we just need to go out there, rebound from that, go out strong and have no regrets.”

“Personally, I learned a lot from last year,” Jackson commented. “I think last year’s team was better than the year before, but the competition was tougher. We didn’t focus like we should have. We went on two great years of winning and we became content with that. We can never become content. We have to keep working hard to get better and better. We can’t ever let up or take it easy one week. We have always got to want more. Our goal is the SEC Championship. First we learned how to win. The next step is a championship. In between, we’ve got to learn how to be a champion, work like a champion and to think like a champion.”