WADSWORTH — Martice Jackson to Akron has a ring to it.
The former Wadsworth running back is hoping to bring much more to the Zips after initially accepting a preferred walk-on offer that turned into a scholarship once one unexpectedly became available.
The rugged 5-foot-8, 209-pounder turned down fellow Mid-American Conference teams Bowling Green, Ohio and Kent State.
“I didn’t want to go somewhere where I was losing,” said Jackson, who added he has aspirations of playing professionally. “Coach (Terry) Bowden told me how they wanted to win. They also brought in new uniforms, and that got me excited and I wanted to play.”
Jackson will join an Akron team that is shaking a recent reputation as one of the worst teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Under the direction of former Auburn coach Bowden, the Zips were 5-7 overall and 4-4 in the Mid-American Conference last season behind a pass-happy, high-scoring offense.
Jackson, who eventually will aim to replace productive starter Jawon Chisholm, was first contacted by Akron in the preseason, and the school’s interest heated up when a scholarship became available.
It didn’t take long for Jackson to accept after receiving a glowing scouting report of sorts from former St. Vincent-St. Mary standout Franshon Bickley, who is Jackson’s cousin and a starting slot receiver for the Zips.
“(Bickley) called me and told me to come down, that Coach Bowden is a great coach,” Jackson said. “I came down out of respect for (Bickley). He wouldn’t tell me anything wrong.”
A four-year letterwinner at Wadsworth, Jackson finished sixth in Medina County history with 3,835 career rushing yards while scoring 33 touchdowns. He had 1,723 yards and 14 TDs as a senior to help the Grizzlies make the Division I playoffs.
Now, the second-team All-Ohioan will get a chance to play football and major in sports management and minor in marketing while getting a reduced college tuition.
In Jackson’s mind, that package is worth bragging about.
“It feels good because a lot of people doubted me, especially going to Wadsworth since it’s not a big-time school,” he said. “Not everyone can play Division I football, and it gives me more confidence to know I can play at a level not many can play at.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.