Jackson puts a little extra into focusing on Fla. State

He says snub's forgotten, but he'll be up for `Noles

Maryland notebook

College Football

October 27, 2004|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - When D'Qwell Jackson was a high school sophomore and a budding football star in Largo, Fla., he, like a lot of his friends, dreamed of getting a visit from legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.

Largo, you see, is mostly Seminoles country. There are Florida Gators fans there, too, but with all the tradition, all the success Florida State has had over the years, its hard for a high school kid not to be in awe of a team that wears garnet and gold. Even the name of Jackson's high school - Seminole - reflected the program's influence.

"I know a couple guys who are at Florida State now, and they told me when Bobby Bowden showed up in their living room, that's all they needed," Jackson said. "That's huge. If Bobby Bowden shows up at your door, with that program, he pretty much has you."

Except in Jackson's case, Bowden never came. Maryland did, and eventually Florida, North Carolina State and Louisiana State, but never Florida State. The Seminoles never even phoned him.

Jackson said he got over it fairly quickly, and in retrospect, he's thrilled that he chose Maryland, but he's also never completely forgiven Florida State.

The linebacker led Maryland with 136 tackles last year, and this season he leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in tackles with 11.1 per game.

He certainly got the Seminoles' attention in the Terps' 35-10 loss in Tallahassee a year ago when he intercepted a pass from Chris Rix in the first quarter, then bowled over Rix and running back Lorenzo Booker on his way to the end zone.

Another McPhearson?

Florida's decision Sunday to fire coach Ron Zook in midseason might end up being beneficial for Maryland.

Derrick McPhearson, a highly rated wide receiver who graduated from DeMatha High School in 2004 and committed to Florida but didn't qualify academically, has backed out of that commitment, and will consider signing with Maryland in February, his father and brother said yesterday.

McPhearson, who is also considering other schools, is 5 feet 11 and 180 pounds, He was a Washington-area all-metro selection in 2003. He chose Florida over Maryland in February, and was expected to possibly see action as a freshman.

When he failed to qualify academically, he told people he might sign a professional baseball contract, but that never happened. After enrolling at Fork Union Military Academy to improve his academic standing, he's now listening to offers again.

Gerrick McPhearson, his older brother, is one of Maryland's starting cornerbacks.

Et cetera

Terps coach Ralph Friedgen, a Yankees fan from his days growing up in New York, said, as much as it pained him, he used the Red Sox's comeback from a 3-0 deficit as an example this week when addressing his team on the rest of the season. " Let's just get after people and see what happens," Friedgen said.

Sun staff writer Lem Satterfield contributed to this article.

Next for Maryland

Matchup: No. 5 Florida State (6-1, 4-1) vs. Maryland (3-4, 1-3)

Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 2, 7/WBAL (1090 AM)

Line: Florida State by 10 1/2

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