“Max Jackson is an outstanding student-athlete,” Frank White said of the two-sport collegiate star during a phone conversation. Our discussion included the lack of coverage of baseball at the prep level at the hands of mainstream media, but more importantly, my role as a prep sports columnist for an African American community newspaper.
“The media focuses on football and basketball at the pre and collegiate level,” said White, author of They Played for the Love of the Game: Untold Stories of Black Baseball and a former high school basketball and football official and baseball umpire. “There are African Americans excelling in baseball, too.”
That is when White mentioned Jackson. The conversation culminated in a willingness to broaden my coverage and White sending me information on a few athletes, including Jackson for starters.
As I studied the info, I found more than what I bargained for. Check this out:
During the 2014-15 school year, Jackson completed his senior year at Cretin Derham Hall as a student-athlete excelling in football, basketball and academics.
Four years later, entering his senior year at Saint John’s University (Collegeville), not much has changed. Jackson, a 5’10” 180-pounder, enters this season as one of the Minnesota Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s (MIAC) top student-athletes.
In football last season, Jackson played safety and totaled 47 tackles (21 solo and 26 assisted), two interceptions for touchdowns, and one fumble recovery while helping the Johnnies earn their fourth consecutive NCAA Division III playoff birth.
He was also named a D3Football.Com All-American, All-MIAC first-team and Academic All-MIAC.
While excelling on the gridiron, Jackson has also established himself as one of the top baseball players in the MIAC. As a junior outfielder last season, he batted .373 with 34 runs batted in (RBIs) and 53 hits along with 13 stolen bases, while being named Academic All-MIAC and All-Region.
As a sophomore, Jackson batted .316, earning All-MIAC Defensive first-team and Academic All-MIAC honors. As an incoming freshman in 2015, Jackson came in with a nice resume as a two-sport student-athlete. He set a freshman record with 30 RBIs while batting .320.
In his senior year at Cretin Derham Hall, he passed for 1,397 yards, 19 touchdowns, and rushed for 231 yards while leading the team to a 6-2 regular season record.
Later that spring, he starred for the baseball team, contributing to a 15-5 regular season record.
Well, White wasn’t exaggerating as he talked about Jackson. In fact, after reading the information he sent, I think he held back a little.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.