There are not many football players more explosive and exciting to watch than Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Thanks to his lighting-quick speed, he's a threat to take it to the house on any play whether it's on a long pass, a quick slant or on a punt return. He showcased his big-play abilities in this year's Pro Bowl as he hauled in six receptions for 101 yards and two scores.
Jackson has been dominating defensive backs since his high school days at Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), where he was considered one of the nation's top recruits in the Class of 2005. He was named the 2004 Mr. Football State Player of the Year by CalHiSports.com and the MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
He was also a touted baseball prospect but teams ultimately passed on the speedy outfielder because his focus was on football. Jackson signed with Cal over USC at the last moment and shined for the Bears before moving on to the NFL.
We got a chance to catch up with Jackson about his Signing Day experience down at Super Bowl XLIV, where the Gatorade Sports Science Institute put Jackson and other players through athlete performance testing at the Gatorade Performance Lab. Gatorade had them try the new G Series available this spring.
ESPN RISE: What was it like going through the Gatorade fitness tests and how did you measure up?
DeSean Jackson: I measured up pretty good. It was a good experience to try out some of the performance products they had.
ER: Five years ago, you were one of the nation's top recruits going through National Signing Day. What was your Signing Day experience like and what was your favorite memory from that day?
DS: It was a big experience just being one of the top recruits in the country and being able to choose whatever college I wanted to. My favorite memory was right before I signed. I was going back and forth and then I got a gut feeling. And I always said I was going to go with my gut decision.
ER: How did it feel being one of the nation's top football recruits in high school?
DS: It was big. You could pick from any school you wanted to. It was an opportunity not too many people had.
ER: You were also a top baseball prospect. How serious were you about playing Major League Baseball and how difficult was it to give up the sport?
DS: It wasn't too difficult because football was my first love. They wanted me to give up football and I wasn't doing that.
ER: What was it like dealing with the expectations of being a top recruit while at Cal and how were you able to live up to them?
DS: The expectations were huge. Everybody has their eyes on you and you have little room to mess up. You pretty much have to act like a professional.
ER: What advice would you give to this year's top recruits on what to expect when they get to college?
DS: Keep an open mind and be willing to work hard. A lot of people get misled at times and once you get misled, it's almost over. But I had a support system with my mom and dad that always showed me the right way.
ER: Did you ever think five years ago you'd be in the position you're in now?
DS: I'd always dreamed I'd be right here, man.