Bowling Green, Ky. (WBKO) --- With only two weeks to go before the team's 2019 season opener, WKU Football wrapped up its 14th fall camp practice just before noon on Thursday. A day after he officially earned a full scholarship, redshirt senior defensive back Canon Jackson reflected on what it meant to him when head coach Tyson Helton made the announcement.
"It was great to see my teammates support me and I have an amazing family who has been supporting me the whole way. Just to have all my hard work come together felt great," Jackson said. "Teammates like Devon Key and DeAndre Farris just kept me going to fight through the adversity, and here I am."
The Louisville native continued: "Staying committed and trusting the process – not really being worried about the product – is important. I don't really know how to quit, that's something my dad instilled into me, so I just kept on pushing."
Led by Jackson, Key and other veteran players in the safeties room, the Hilltopper defense is set to keep pushing. The redshirt junior Key mentioned that they are using having zero defensive players named to the All-Conference USA Preseason Team – among other things – as motivation.
"Definitely adds a little salt to the would, but that's one of the reasons we just come out here every day and work and prove ourselves," he said. "The past two years have been a great learning experience, so year three under Coach [Clayton White] should be a good one for us."
As with the defensive coordinator White, defensive ends coach Jimmy Lindsey also approaches his third season on The Hill. He talked about the growth
"I think fundamentally the guys have gotten better from where they were last year, playing the run first and foremost, then learning new tools and tricks as pass rushers," he said. "The expectation is always to play good defense and give your team a chance to win, we want to chase perfection in our room and be the best that we can be."
Lindsey and the Hilltoppers will look to the defensive end duo of junior DeAngelo Malone and redshirt sophomore Juwuan Jones to make significant strides going into the 2019 campaign. The Sugar Hill, Ga., native was voted an FWAA Freshman All-American last season after producing five sacks and 43 total tackles.
"I want to make more negative plays in the backfield, that's something we have to improve on as a defensive line and a defensive unit as a whole," he said. "We have to do whatever it takes to make more TFL's and sacks."