Jordan Jackson thought he'd spend this past fall hauling down quarterbacks. Instead, he spent the time hauling meals around Jacksonville, Fla.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Air Force defensive end gave an in-house interview with FalconVision director Brian Jerman that was released by the academy Wednesday afternoon. It was the first public interview conducted with one of the three dozen or so Air Force players who took turnbacks and missed the 2020 season.
Jackson discussed his time away from the academy that he spent rehabbing from an injury, spending time with family and delivering food as an Uber Eats driver.
“Everything happens for a reason, I feel like,” Jackson said. “Of course it was kind of tough, going home, not expecting there to be a season, and there ended up being a season.”
The Mountain West had announced in August 2020 that it was moving the football season to the spring because of the coronavirus. About a month later it reversed that decision and forged ahead with a shortened season. During that interim period, around 40 Air Force football players decided to utilize an offer then-superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria offered to all cadets to utilize the turnback program because of the pandemic. Turnbacks allow cadets to separate for a period of time — in this case a semester — with the missed time tacked onto the end of their time at the academy.
For those, like Jackson, who were initially scheduled to graduate next month, they will instead graduate in December 2021 and be able to play during the 2021 season.
The departures left the Falcons, particularly on defense, fielding a squad of younger players, those pegged for backup roles and some, like defensive tackle George Silvanic, switching over from offense and enjoying breakout seasons. Air Force went 3-3 during the season, which included a pair of canceled games because of COVID-19.
Jackson utilized that time to undergo shoulder surgery and make some money delivering food.
“Definitely to cherish what delivery people do,” Jackson said when Jerman asked what the experience taught him. “It’s definitely a much tougher job than people would expect.”
Air Force kept spring practice closed to media and did not provide any player availability.
Jerman asked about any possible division on the team between players who opted out of the 2020 season and those who remained. The team will welcome back Jackson, a former second-team all-Mountain West selection, as well as accomplished defenders like cornerback Milton Bugg III, Demonte Meeks and Lakota Wills. So those who stayed and played will face long odds to retain their positions.
“I think we’ll be able to work it out,” Jackson said.