from John Frierson
Kearis Jackson hasn’t been unleashed as a wide receiver this season. Limited by injury, Jackson has returned punts for the Georgia football team’s number 1, but he has only seven catches for 67 yards in the Bulldogs’ first six games, after catching 36 passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns in 2020 would have.
A six-foot-tall, 200-pound junior Redshirt from Fort Valley, Georgia, Jackson has been around long enough to join the Quick Chat triple club. He’s used to the stupid questions about his favorite food or movie, so we broke new ground for this conversation that took place on the Wednesday after training.
During our quick chat he talked about being in his fourth year in Athens and having a few months to graduate. He also spoke about leadership and his experience as a student representative on the UGA Athletics Board of Directors and SEC Football Leadership Council.
Here’s some of what he had to say:
Frierson: Do you feel like you’ve been here for a long time, or is everything just passing by so quickly?
Jackson: Honestly, it feels like I’ve been here forever. But it’s a good thing. Not only do I feel like I’ve been here forever, but it also flies by. I just try to take every opportunity. Since I can graduate in December, it’s a great achievement for me, my coaches, my family and everyone. It is exciting.
Frierson: How does it feel to be so close to graduation, which is one of the greatest accomplishments to have at your age?
Jackson: My biggest thing, I’m done with school. I love football and once I get school out of the way I can just focus on football as I want.
I know how I felt after I graduated from high school, but the college degree is huge. I’ll be the first in my family to graduate from such a large institution so this is a great achievement.
Frierson: In addition to football and school, you have been involved in the UGA Athletic Board and the SEC Football Leadership Council. Where did these things come from? Did you participate in many such student activities in high school?
Jackson: When I was in high school, I was able to speak on different things because I wanted to be a motivational speaker. At a young age I was able to speak on a fifth grade graduation in Atlanta and I was able to speak at various elementary schools in my area using my voice as a platform.
Every time I go home, I try to make a positive impact on someone’s life, whether I’m going to an AAU basketball training session or speaking to a youth soccer team. Whatever it is, I try to influence the community in some way.
Frierson: What was it like speaking at your first Athletic Board meeting when you were with the top people from the University of Georgia and the sports department?
Jackson: I remember my first board meeting, it was on a zoom. It was after training and I was sitting in the locker room [laughs]and I wondered how can I prepare my mind to speak to these people? When it started I took it for granted and thought I’d been here before. I was just myself and after that it was like you had something special in you.
Frierson: I know the Georgia Way program helps student-athletes meet with important and successful people, so did that help?
Jackson: I feel like the Georgia Way, the University of Georgia, everything that this university has made available to me has prepared me for whatever I do. Things like going to the SEC board of directors, as a sophomore, going to Birmingham and talking to the SEC board committee, Commissioner (Greg) Sankey, all like that – it was a very eye-opening opportunity.
It made me a better speaker and it gave me more confidence to speak in front of large crowds and the like. I appreciate being able to use my platform for such things and to be able to represent the University of Georgia.
Frierson: When you first got here, did you ever imagine yourself doing something like this?
Jackson: Definitely not. I couldn’t imagine doing things like that, but they brought out another side of me that was really good.
Frierson: You seem like a natural leader to me. Do you take on this role in the locker room and on the pitch?
Jackson: I definitely take on this role because a lot of people look up to me, especially in the reception room as I am the oldest. They see me as a man who is respectful and who leads them in the right direction.
Frierson: I asked you a few years ago who the funniest guys on the team are and you said Divaad Wilson and Netori Johnson. Those guys are gone and there are a lot of new guys who have become teammates since then, so who’s the funniest guy now?
Jackson: The funniest guy, 2021 version? There are a lot of funny guys. If I need a good laugh, it has to be in the reception room. I would say Jackson Meeks because he’s really funny and i treat him like my younger brother. Everything he does is killing me. I would also say JD (Jordan Davis) just because of the way it wears. He’s very athletic in what he does, fooling around and all. No matter if he’s dancing or singing or whatever, he’s always funny.
Frierson: As a very good athlete himself, what do you think when you see Jordan Davis Walking around and playing soccer at 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds?
Jackson: JD is probably the tallest person I’ve ever seen who moves so fast, plays so fast, and runs so fast. I think it was the game in South Carolina when we were all captains, and there’s a picture of us there on the 50-yard line. I was like, look at me left, look at JD and look at Channing (Tindall), and JD stands there like a big mannequin in the middle. I figured I’d frame this in my house one day.
(These questions and answers have been edited slightly for length and clarity.)
Deputy Director for Sports Communication John Frierson is a staff writer for the UGA Athletic Association and curator of the ITA Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame. You can find his work at: Frierson Files. He’s also on Twitter: @FriersonFiles and @ITAHallofFame.