Recruited as a quarterback out of Shanks High School in Quincy, Florida, it didn’t take long for Jackson to be switched to safety as a freshman at Florida State. The position change boded well for the Seminoles as Jackson became one of the most well-rounded players on the dominant Florida State teams of the mid-to-late 90s.
Jackson was a two-sport athlete, running track for the Seminoles from 1996-1998, and began showcasing his athleticism as an underclassman on special teams with his propensity for blocking kicks. In just eight games played, Jackson had already gotten his hand on the end of three kicks, all against North Carolina. (Take that, Mack Brown.)
By his junior year, Jackson was a full-time starter at the safety position and had developed into a ball hawk with a habit of turning it up a notch in big games. This would continue on into his NFL career (more on that later). Jackson recorded interceptions in both the 1997 Sugar Bowl against Ohio State and the 1998 National Championship game against Tennessee. He hauled in eight of his nine career interceptions in his final two years, earning him second team All-ACC honors both years.
Despite coming up short in the National Championship in his final game as a Seminole, Jackson would have his shot at redemption in another championship game, and he took full advantage.
Drafted in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jackson would start in Super Bowl XXXVII just three years later. He was named the MVP of that game after intercepting Raiders’ quarterback Rich Gannon twice and helping lead the Bucs to their first Super Bowl victory.
Jackson joined FSU legend Fred Biletnikoff as the only former ’Noles to be named Super Bowl MVP.