All around the country, Jackson Muschamp has lived. College towns and even an NFL city, Jackson and his family have moved place to place for two things, football and their family. While this young kid spent his entire life in a locker room or on the field, the pigskin remained glued to Jackson’s hands, no matter the town he was living in. Now, as a junior in college, Jackson finds himself in Athens with his dad Will Muschamp as his coach, the rest of his family, friends, a national championship and, yes, football.
From a young age, Jackson knew he wanted to play ball in college. Surrounded by coaches, players and, of course, his dad, Jackson had a great support staff to get him to that level. These mentors coached and taught him throughout his childhood while his dad’s players were role models to Jackson. Eventually, as Coach Muschamp took the South Carolina head coaching job, Jackson moved to Columbia with his family and enrolled at Hammond High School.
Being around football paid off as Jackson and the Skyhawks went on to win three state titles. Jackson’s winnings also earned him attention from some bigger schools at the next level. With offers from Colorado State and Boston College, he considered the opportunity to play at either one of the schools, but the Red and Black, his dad’s alma mater, our beloved institution, the University of Georgia came around with a preferred walk-on offer, and to Athens, he came.
“Athens embraced me with open arms,” Jackson said. “Even with my dad still coaching at South Carolina, the people around me still made me feel like I was home.”
Following Jackson’s freshman season, the opportunity for Coach Muschamp to return to Athens became a reality and the father-son duo was reunited. Despite coaching for conference rivals like Florida and Auburn, Jackson said, after putting on the Red and Black, my dad and my family were welcomed back to the Athens family once again.
With two years under his belt, a national championship and a ring to show for it, Jackson still has to face the everyday grind on and off the field of being a student athlete. Between football, class and a social life, Jackson’s plate is pretty full, but with the help of coaches, football staff and the faculty, his busy schedule is easier to manage than one might think.
“Everything we do is intentional and thought out,” Jackson said. “The difference between college and high school football is the organization. In college, practice, meals, classes, etc. are all structured for us to succeed. They ultimately want us to maximize our time for everything and help us accomplish the goals we have set.”
To be one of the best programs in the country, the players must be set up for success, like Jackson said, and there is no better success story than Jackson’s position group, the quarterbacks. In the quarterback room at UGA, there are walk-ons and five stars, but Jackson said their brotherhood, their comradery is unlike anything else. They push each other to get better but are best friends through it all.
The former walk-on, sixth-year senior Stetson Bennett leads that group, a guy who took his opportunity and won this football program its first national title in 41 years. The mutual respect among Jackson and the rest of the QBs is of the highest and Jackson could not say enough about Stetson and the rest of the guys in the room. “We’re ride or die with Stetson,” Jackson said. “We’re all behind him and supporting him, and we think he can win us another title.”
Though Jackson has a great fraternity of brothers on the football team, he is also a member of the Kappa Alpha Order here on campus where he stays in touch with his friends off the field. “It’s important to me that I still have a social life while playing football and going to class,” he said. “I want to form and keep relationships with people all around this campus, so it’s important to me that I get out and meet people and hang out with my friends and family.” While Jackson holds football near and dear to his heart, he keeps his friends and family closer.
Back on the field, the Dawgs still sit atop the mountain of college football as the national champions, Jackson noted that it still takes the grind to repeat. “Coach Smart keeps telling us, ‘We have the talent to beat anyone in the country, it just depends on what we do with that talent,’” Jackson said. “We know it is going to be tough if we want to win it all again. We just have to put our minds to it and grind everyday on and off the field.”
The hardworking Jackson is set for big things ahead in his life. With a last name that means royalty in college football and a current student-athlete at a national championship school, Jackson’s resumé is pretty stout; however, the young, humble kid born in Baton Rouge doesn’t let his head grow to the magnitude of his name and status. He stays down to earth, grinds at everything he works for, but most of all, he always keeps his family and friends first.