Preston Jackson held Michael Jordan as his sports idol as he was growing up.

Q & A ... With Preston Jackson

Sept. 24, 2004

#15 Preston Jackson

Senior, 5-9, 180


Tampa, FL/Hillsborough

Preston Jackson is in his fifth season at Notre Dame and his third as a regular in the Irish secondary. A starter at cornerback this season, Jackson saw most of his playing time in 2002 and 2003 in Notre Dame’s nickel defense. For his career, the speedy defensive back has played in 38 games making nine starts. In two starts this season, Jackson has five solo tackles and three assists. He returned and interception 38 yards for a touchdown in the season opener versus Brigham Young. GameDay Magazine’s Gary Paczesny gives Irish fans a chance to get to know Preston Jackson.

Paczesny: Tell us about your major and why your interest in that field of studies?

Jackson: I’m a marketing major in the Mendoza College of Business. The business degree was very general and allows me many options for the future.

Paczesny: What has been your hardest class and why?

Jackson: It’s a tie between BCA and Managerial Economics. The reason they are hard is the simple fact that I am not a numbers person and I don’t like doing math.

Paczesny: What made you pick Notre Dame over other schools that were interested in you?

Jackson: It was a tough decision for me between Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. My mother wanted me to get the best education and she felt that a technical school was not the best fit for me and I wanted the chance to be the best athlete I could be. It came down to getting the best athletics and the best education, plus throw into the mix that Notre Dame is on national television so much.

Paczesny: To date what has been your career highlight?

Jackson: For me, my career highlight was being part of the team that went 10-3 in Coach Willingham’s first season. I helped solidify a big game for us versus Pittsburgh by intercepting a pass at a critical part of the game.

Paczesny: Who were your sports idols as a kid?

Jackson: My idol is Michael Jordan because of his leadership and how he is a student of the game along with his athleticism.

Paczesny: As a football player, is there any one player that you have modeled your game after?

Jackson: There is no one pro person, but for me it would be (former teammate) Shane Walton. He may not have been the best athlete, but he was always the smartest player on the field.

Paczesny: What is the one thing in your life that you can’t live without?

Jackson: I couldn’t live without my family. You can’t do anything by yourself and family is your backbone.

Paczesny: Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?

Jackson: I like to listen to some music, but I am not the type of person who does the same things game after game or listen to the same songs. I just listen to different things to relax before a game.

Paczesny: What is the best advice that you have ever been given and who gave it to you?

Jackson: The best advice that I’ve ever been given is that “you can’t stop the sun from shining.” I’m not sure where I got that from but its something that I try to follow each and every day.

Paczesny: What is the one thing about you that might surprise people?

Jackson: Many people say that I walk around campus with a frown, but I am truly a nice guy.

Paczesny: What is your most embarrassing moment in sports?

Jackson: During my sophomore year of high school I was a starting safety. In one game, I got jacked by a huge offensive lineman who knocked the wind out of me when he greased me in the chest.

Paczesny: What is your favorite movie and why?

Jackson: “Friday After Next,” starring Ice Cube. I could watch it everyday. I know every line in that movie.

Paczesny: What stadium is the toughest you’ve ever played in?

Jackson: The toughest place that I’ve played is Memorial Stadium at Nebraska. With all those people wearing red and the way the stadium is built made it very loud and intimidating.

Paczesny: Who is the best athlete that you have ever competed against?

Jackson: The toughest that I’ve played against is Larry Fitzgerald of Pittsburgh. For a while I thought it was Charles Rogers from Michigan State, but seeing what Larry did and playing against him, I think he’s a small step ahead of Charles.

Paczesny: When your football career is over, what do you see yourself doing?

Jackson: I hope that it doesn’t come to an end soon, but I would like to get my foot in the door and work for someone until I can get established financially and get things together myself.

Paczesny: Describe what it’s like on game day and playing at Notre Dame Stadium?

Jackson: It is the most incredible thing. When you play in big games the crowd and more importantly, the student body is always in to it. When the entire crowd catches on fire like the students, it’s a tough place for opponents to play. Coming down the tunnel gives you and eerie feeling with chills running up and down your spine.

Paczesny: What is your favorite thing about playing at Notre Dame?

Jackson: The chances you have for networking with alumni. The way it always raises an eyebrow when you’re a student athlete at the University of Notre Dame. It does a lot for you in business area in helping make connections for the future.