Jackson leads deep backfield at DelState

 

DOVER — Kenny Carter is starting to see what he wants out of Jamaal Jackson.

Jackson’s performance in Saturday’s Delaware State football scrimmage impressed the first-year coach.

With a couple running backs sidelined with minor injuries, Jackson saw the bulk of the carries. His day was highlighted by a 50-yard touchdown run.

Jamaal Jackson

Jamaal
Jackson

“He understands now what we want,” Carter said. “He’s been a dancer in the past but that’s not what we’re going to do. We’re going to a be a one-cut team and he’s starting to buy into what it is that we want him to do.”

Jackson is DSU’s leading returning rusher from last year in a backfield that has suddenly become very crowded.

Three newcomers have positioned themselves to be in contention for playing time according to Carter, two freshmen — Kesselly Tyler and Sika Bendolph (Caesar Rodney High) — and transfer Laray Smith from Indiana University.

But Tyler and Smith each missed Saturday’s scrimmage as a precaution. Carter said if it was a real game both of them should have been able to play. That meant more opportunities for Jackson and Bendolph along with his twin brother Tecumseh Bendolph.

Senior Dae-Hun Cheung also saw some time and scored a touchdown. He only played in three games during an injury-plagued season last year after leading the Hornets in rushing his sophomore season in 2013.

Jackson started as the No. 2 running back last season but moved into the top spot when Malcolm Williams was injured early in the year. Jackson finished with 493 yards as DelState slumped to finish 114th of 121 Football Championship Subdivision teams in rushing yards per game (96.7).

Jackson knows the fact that the Hornets have more depth this season should help that number.

“We still have some work to do but I’m seeing a lot of good things out of us,” Jackson said. “As far as the offense goes, we’re executing more, people are knowing their assignments and we’re really going at the tempo we want to go at. We’re starting to get on the right track.”

Carter also sped up the tempo compared to ex-coach Kermit Blount.

The running backs like how the new staff has overhauled the system.

“The system works in our favor,” Jackson said. “It’s built around the players that are here. It sets us up for success. We’re strong and I think we’re going to be very successful.”

One player who will not be in the running back competition is Nagee Jackson. He was moved to tight end and quickly had success at his new position as he was the Hornets’ leading receiver in Saturday’s scrimmage.

Carter praised the versatility of his running back core and said each player should be able to help the team in a different way.

“They’re very talented and I’m excited what they will bring to the table,” Carter said. “We’re going to be good at that position.”

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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