Duval Jackson doesn’t look like an Air Force fullback and doesn’t run like one, either.
But he’s sure finding success in the role.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore – taller and leaner than the team typically plays at the position – ran 20 times Saturday for 117 yards and a touchdown in a 43-24 victory over Fresno State.
Where Air Force fullbacks generally bulldoze their way through gaps, Jackson snakes through the line with nimble feet and a tailback’s vision.
“Our linemen are so good that I can easily see how this play’s supposed to go and this play’s supposed to go,” said Jackson, who is listed on Air Force’s roster as Timothy, but has gone by his middle name for most of his life. “The hole I’m supposed to hit is open because they’re doing their thing. So it might look like I’m just jumping around back there, but they’re making things a lot easier than it seems.”
If Jackson seems like an unusual fullback, it’s because Air Force didn’t always envision him in that spot. He was initially looked at as a tailback, even as recently as this past spring. But the way the position played out, including the dismissal of returning starter Cole Fagan from the team, prompted the Falcons to keep him at fullback.
“That is a different makeup physically, because we like big legs, big rumps that are lower than a chair in terms of where their waist is,” coach Troy Calhoun said. “He does have a lot of running skill. I think the thing that’s evident about him is you rarely see him take a direct shot. He’s got a way that he’s hard to hit.”
Jackson has carried 46 times this season for 245 yards and three touchdowns, a 5.3 yards-per-carry average.
A native of Northern California, Jackson was recruited by Fresno State. But the Bulldogs wanted him as a linebacker, and Jackson wanted to play offense.
He said he didn’t know about Air Force until his senior year, and found it to be a perfect fit; even if he’s a bit of an unorthodox fit for the position he’s playing.
“I know I’m like a lighter guy and stuff, and usually that’s a heavier-set position,” he said. “But the coaches trusted me and I was able to take control of the position.”