MANKATO — A few years ago, the Minnesota State football team had LaMark Brown, a big, physical receiver that could also play some at running back in the wildcat formation that ended up getting a chance to play pro football.
Next season, that role might be filled by Jameer Jackson, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound receiver that is transferring from North Dakota.
“He’s a very talented young man,” said North Dakota’s former offensive line coach Mike Cunningham, who coached at Minnesota State when Brown was here. “He’s a difference-maker in that league. He’s big and physical and can run. When he gets the football in his hands, he tries to punish people.”
Jackson played high-school ball at Osseo, and he committed early to North Dakota, where he played for two seasons. As a freshman, he caught 56 passes for 709 yards and six touchdowns, receiving freshman All-America honors and being named a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, given annually to the top freshman receiver in the FCS.
Last season, he made 52 catches for 502 yards and a touchdown, missing two games because of hip and ankle injuries.
“There was a huge transition (at North Dakota) because of the coaches being fired,” Jackson said.
“I just wanted to play closer to home, where my family could watch me play. It’s five hours to Grand Forks, and it’s the most boring ride ever.”
Cunningham said that Brown was a little taller than Jackson, but they could have similar careers. Brown was only here for one season before signing with the Minnesota Vikings and going to training camp here last summer. Brown also lined up as a running back on occasion at Minnesota State.
“He’s going to help them,” Cunningham said.
Jackson, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, said he didn’t look around for other options, wanting to get into school here and finding a place to live. He will come to campus Friday and start classes on Monday, and that’s when coach Aaron Keen can comment about transfers.
Jackson also said that there might be other players that will transfer to Minnesota State from North Dakota.
“I know Mankato did really well this year,” Jackson said. “I’m excited to get with a new group of guys and a new city that’s closer to home. It’s a new opportunity. I feel like it’s a good fit.”
The Mavericks finished 11-1 and lost in the second round of the national playoffs. Minnesota State was rated fourth in one national poll and sixth in another.
Minnesota State is losing top receiver Dennis Carter, who made 49 catches for 964 yards and nine touchdowns.