LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - After dropping four straight games to open 2017, it's hard to overstate the importance of George County's 19-14 road upset of Harrison Central.
"It was big," head coach Matt Caldwell said. "We've been competitive through most games, through the 3rd and beginning of the 4th quarter, then all of a sudden it would fall apart. It was good for us to finish a game."
A big reason for snapping the streak? Defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson. Whether he's facing double or triple-team coverage, the sophomore has wreaked havoc on opposing backfields, leading the Rebels with 17.0 tackles for loss.
"Out of 22 years, I've never coached a defensive lineman like him," Caldwell said.
"Everything, I'm coming with (everything)," Jackson said. "I'm not holding anything back, all dog and all heart."
Jackson's name is already well known, and not just by opposing offensive lineman. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette offered him a scholarship before he even took his first high school snap, and the frenzy only picked up from there. Jackson now boasts offers from the likes of Alabama, LSU, Florida State and the Mississippi Big 3 (Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss), and he's only 15 years old.
"I've been recruited since 8th grade, so that's probably gonna lead to an early decision," Jackson said of his collegiate courtship. "They know who I am. I'm gonna prove to you why I have those offers, why I'm a five star prospect."
Even with his team focused on opening district play, the recruiting cycle never sleeps. Earlier this month, Jackson spent a Saturday in Baton Rouge for the LSU vs. Chattanooga game.
"Those people treated me like family," Jackson said of his experience with the Tigers. "The atmosphere there is amazing."
He also has a visit planned to Tuscaloosa next weekend, and then one to Notre Dame coming up in November. However, Jackson isn't letting all of this attention get to him. He's just enjoying his time in high school for as long as he can.
"We told him - and all the college coaches, I'll give them a lot of credit - they've all told him too, look, you go play your last three years of high school, and all this stuff will work itself out," Caldwell said.
"Football is just, it's really a privilege, but school is my main focus right now," Jackson said. "I'm just getting school out the way, trying to get my diploma. This thing is for my family right here. The diploma matters more to me than anything."
Before he can pick up that diploma, Jackson earns himself MGCCC High School Lineman of the Week honors. His Rebels (1-4) open district play when they host Oak Grove this Friday.