Jackson is an outstanding athlete -- he was a running back in high school and played safety and corner. He reminds me of Ty Law -- he doesn't have burning speed but is a very tough player and does a good job against the run. He's good enough against the pass to play for a zone team like Indy.
Kirwan on Jackson: Jackson is a versatile player who has a real team attitude. The Colts need to develop a defensive personality. With the Colts having the lead in most of the games they play and the Colts in nickel and dime defense often, they need Jackson right away.
The unquestioned leader of the Wolverines' defense, Jackson was also one of their most versatile players. He played every position in the secondary, but still went on to set several school records. Switching positions became commonplace for Jackson and he even changed jersey numbers, changing from No. 3 to No. 20 prior to the 2002 season.
Jackson earned USA Today All-America and Pennsylvania Player of the Year accolades as a senior at Sharon (Pa.) High School, where he was also chosen Northeast Player of the Year by SuperPrep. The all-state pick twice earned All-Mercer County Conference honors on both offense and defense.
He recorded 281 tackles, 19 stops for losses, three sacks, seven forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries during his career. He made 18 career interceptions, returning four of those picks for touchdowns. Marlin also rushed 15 times for 330 yards and five touchdowns, caught 57 passes for 1,026 yards and 18 scores, returned 12 kickoffs for 236 yards (19.6 avg.) and scored twice. He also lettered in basketball three times, twice earning all-conference honors.
Jackson was a freshman All-America choice by The Sporting News as a true freshman, lining up at cornerback. He recorded 50 tackles (39 solos) with two interceptions and four pass deflections while starting seven games in 2001. As a sophomore, Jackson picked up All-America first-team honors from College Football News. Starting every game, he collected 51 tackles (39 solos) with three interceptions and established a school season-record with 18 pass deflections in 2002. He also set a Wolverine game-record with six pass breakups against Washington.
Jackson shifted to safety in 2003. Despite missing three games with a left quadriceps and groin pull and another due to suspension, he collected 47 tackles (35 solos) with seven pass deflections and three interceptions while starting seven of 11 games. He moved back to cornerback as a senior, earning All-America first-team honors while serving as team captain. Marlin was credited with 47 tackles (34 solos) with six stops for losses, four pass deflections and an interception.
In 45 games with the Wolverines, Jackson started 39 times. He finished his career with 195 tackles (147 solos), two sacks for minus-13 yards and 13 stops for losses of 43 yards. He also caused five fumbles, deflected 34 passes, gained 77 yards with a touchdown on nine interceptions and blocked two kicks. Only Todd Howard (41, 1998-2001) had more pass breakups in a career at Michigan than Jackson's 34.
Positives Tall, rangy athlete with a slender but defined frame with long arms and tight skin … Can play all secondary positions and is a smart, instinctive athlete who has the range to make plays in pursuit … Shows very good man- and zone-coverage skills, reacting quickly to the ball in flight … Has outstanding instincts and a good knowledge of the defense, making all of the adjustment calls in the secondary … Can play either tight or loose in man coverage, showing the speed to stay stride for stride with the receivers on deep routes … Scans the field well and is quick to pick up blocking schemes … Reacts quickly to pass and has the jumping ability to go vertical and make adjustments on the ball in flight … When he plants and drives, Jackson shows a good closing burst to make plays in front of him … Durable athlete with good range and catch-up speed … His ability to play most of the secondary positions is a plus … Can also handle return duties, but would only recommend that he do so in emergency situations … Knows all the alignments and matchups to make the coverage calls and checks in the secondary … His combination of size, strength and versatility will see him contribute immediately as a nickel back, and he will be a factor for some team's defensive backfield before long.
Negatives … Gathers himself a bit in transition and while he can backpedal and turn, he looks a little awkward moving in reverse … Can be fooled by play action, but does a good job of coming up to support in the short area … Uses his hands effectively to redirect receivers early in their routes, but gambles too much in man coverage and that causes him to be caught away from the play … Needs to show more aggression and get physical with the receivers in press coverage, and seems to lack cover sense when his back is to the ball … Has good feet and a quick hip turn, but in off coverage schemes he sometimes is too inconsistent to maintain cushion … Struggles to keep his feet in transition and will bite on double moves by the receiver because he does not have the agility to recover … Decent tackler, but needs to show better consistency wrapping up … Tends to take poor angles in run support and does not seem to avoid blocks well when working near the line of scrimmage … Not the type that can be effective blitzing off the edge, as Jackson does not have the hand usage to disengage and shed vs. the larger blockers … Has good natural strength to make tackles in run support, but is more of a drag-down and angle tackler, as he fails to use his hands effectively to wrap and secure … Needs to play in more control during run support, as Jackson does not look comfortable working in space … Is a confident cornerback, but did not look natural playing free safety as a junior … Does not always get himself into good position to make the play, opening his hips too early.
2003 -- Sat out the Illinois (Oct. 18), Purdue (Oct. 25) and Michigan State (Nov. 1) games due to left quadriceps and groin pulls.
4.49 in the 40-yard dash … 340-pound bench press … 510-pound squat … 323-pound power clean … 34½-inch vertical jump.
Attended Sharon (Pa.) High School, playing football for coach Jim Wildman … USA Today All-America first-team and named Player of the Year in Pennsylvania … Earned all-state honors as a senior and was a Prep Football Report All-American … Two-time Mercer County Conference first-team selection on defense and offense … Recorded 281 tackles, 19 stops for losses, three sacks, forced seven fumbles and recovered three fumbles during his career … Also made 18 career interceptions, returning four of those picks for touchdowns … Rushed 15 times for 330 yards and five touchdowns, caught 57 passes for 1,026 yards and 18 touchdowns and returned 12 kickoffs for 236 yards (19.6 avg) and scored two touchdowns … Lettered three times in basketball, twice earning first-team all-conference honors.
General Studies major, enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts … Attended the 2000 Michigan Summer Football Camp … Born Marlin Tyrell Jackson on June 30, 1983 … Resides in Sharon, Pa.