By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER — When Blake Jackson inked with Oklahoma State out of Scottsdale Community College, the hype followed him largely because of the departure of Justin Blackmon.
Jackson had somewhat similar measurables to the two-time Fred Biletnikoff Award winner — standing at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. But Jackson was coming in as a tight end and expected to be more of an inside receiver.
“The biggest thing for him was maturity. He came in kind of like every other high school guy comes in with the hype from the last season, but it’s a different stage and he learned that it’s a different game than where he came from,” wide receiver Tracy Moore said. “But he’s adjusted pretty well.”
With making the transition from junior college to Division I, and from the occasional receiver to a pure receiver, Jackson had a quiet first year for the Cowboys.
He finished third in catches with 30 receptions, though averaged a team-high 19.9 yards per catch. He hauled in just three touchdowns receptions — one of which came in OSU’s 58-14 blowout of Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
“I’m really hard on myself, so I don’t think I did well at all,” Jackson said. “... I’m really tough on myself more so than anybody. So I don’t think it was a good year at all.”
With his transition period over, the Gilbert, Ariz., native is focused on become an elite target for the Oklahoma State quarterbacks — whomever may be under center come fall.
“I do give myself some credit in the fact that I was a first-year player, but I know that I’m ready for this and I know that I should have been ready for that moment,” Jackson said. “... I know I can be a primetime player, so I’m working hard to get to that level.”
Moore has respect for what Jackson had to endure his first year on campus. Moore has had to make the transition between wide receiver and inside receiver himself.
“For me, going from outside to inside after playing receiver for so long, it was difficult for me, so I know it was for him — especially coming from tight end where you are playing with your hand on the ground,” Moore said. “They are different positions, so it’s not like it’s a receiver, there’s a real difference. So I understand where he’s coming from. It’s a difficult process. ... He’s definitely changed his whole mindset and definitely is going to be a big player for us next year.”