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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