Bridgeport’s Javaris Jackson Chasing Football Dream ‘Down Under’

Javaris Jackson’s football odyssey took him from Bridgeport to Adrian to Iowa.

The former Bridgeport High School standout will take another big step in his footballing career by agreeing to play for Melbourne in Australia’s Gridiron League.

The 6-foot, 295-pound defender will report in August in hopes of creating more football opportunities in the future.

“I’m super excited to just experience something new and do something that I love,” Jackson said. “It’s not the NFL, but my goal has always been to play professional football. I’m Clarke University’s first professional football player. That means something.”

After graduating from Bridgeport in 2017, Jackson joined the Siena Heights football program before joining Clarke ahead of the 2020 season.

“I felt like I could get more opportunities, be used more elsewhere,” Jackson said. “At Siena I played more as a breather and went in when the boys were tired. I had to sit behind a lot of guys who were older than me.

“That’s where Clarke came in. Since Clarke is a new program with a new coach (Miguel Regalado), I would have a better chance of playing. The coach didn’t promise me anything, but I knew I’d be competitive.”

Clarke is an NAIA program in Dubuque, Iowa. The Pride played their first football season in 2019. Last season the Pride went 1-10.

“It was one of those times of the year,” Jackson said. “We are attending a conference (Heart of America) that is one of the top NAIA conferences in the nation.”

After the season, Jackson had a Canadian Football League tryout with Edmonton and was invited to play in the Podyum All-Star Bowl, which features the nation’s top small collegiate players.

“I got to play in front of international teams, some NFL scouts, some CFL scouts,” Jackson said. “I’ve had a few offers, including one from Los Cabos, a soccer team in Mexico. But her season started in April, and I promised my parents I would graduate. I graduated in May.”

In his senior season with Clarke, Jackson finished with 18 tackles.

“They weren’t huge stats, but Noseguard isn’t where stats talk,” Jackson said. “My job was to make space, cave in a hole and position linebackers behind me to make plays. My linebacker (Bryan Valdes) was an all-conference guy.

“I can make plays when needed, but my biggest role has been going against blockers and creating chances for my teammates.”

Jackson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration, owns his own purified water business.

“I expect to grow that… I have a few friends who are going to help run my business while I’m away,” Jackson said. “The season could go until the end of January.

“I’m thrilled. Looking back, it seems like it went by pretty quickly. Playing in Bridgeport seems so long ago, but it also feels close because it’s the same dream. I’ve been chasing it when I was in Bridgeport started and I’m still chasing it.”

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