Mississippi State’s Jackson wins the Conerly

Mississippi State left guard Gabe Jackson was named the winner

of the Conerly Trophy on Tuesday night, becoming the first

offensive lineman to earn the honor in its 18-year history.

The 6-foot-4, 340-pound Jackson beat out a field of five

finalists, including Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace, during the

ceremony at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

The other three finalists were Alcorn State’s Arnold Walker,

Jackson State’s Clayton Moore and Millsaps’ Mike Barthelemy.

Plenty of talented offensive linemen have come through

Mississippi over the past two decades, including first-round NFL

draft picks Michael Oher and Derek Sherrod, but Jackson is the

first to take home the Conerly.

Jackson admitted winning was hard to believe, especially

considering offensive linemen are often among the most anonymous

players on the field.

”It probably will (sink in) later on tonight, but I’m still

enjoying the moment right now,” he said.

Jackson is the first Mississippi State player to win since

linebacker Chris White and running back Anthony Dixon were honored

in 2009 and 2010.

”(Jackson) was in our first recruiting class,” Mississippi

State coach Dan Mullen said. ”That was a real special group to me.

I showed up and they believed. They bought in and now they’ve had a

lot of success – four straight bowls. It’s special.”

Jackson’s presence was never more obvious for Mississippi State

than in the final minutes of the Egg Bowl, which the Bulldogs won

17-10 in overtime. Mississippi State scored the game-winning

touchdown on Dak Prescott’s 4-yard run, and the path to the end

zone was easy thanks to Jackson clearing the way.

”Dak said `Give me the ball, I’m going to score,”’ Mullen

said. ”So then it was pretty easy to figure out which way we were

going to run.”

Jackson’s closest competition for the Conerly was Wallace, who

was trying to become the award’s first back-to-back winner. The

junior quarterback has thrown for 3,090 yards, 17 touchdowns and

nine interceptions this season, but had a bad performance in the

Egg Bowl, with three interceptions and a lost fumble in


Wallace said Jackson was deserving of the award and he had

little doubt the Egg Bowl result was a big factor in the Conerly


”There’s no doubt about it,” Wallace said. ”I had the worst

game I probably played in my career and I think that’s what cost

me. But it happens like that. We’ve just got to grow and be



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