by Paul Peck, Buffalo Sport Page
For any college student with professional goals, the chance to attend a seminar by the leading experts in your field is a great opportunity.
For a college football quarterback, there is no better career development than the Manning Passing Academy. This summer, University at Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson got one of those coveted invitations to be a counselor at the four day camp in Thibodeaux, LA.
“I just received an email and they reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to attend and be a counselor,” Jackson said following the Bulls first training camp practice. “Talking to Coach Leipold and (QB Coach) Jim Zebrowski, they thought it was something that would be very beneficial to me. It was a great time.”
The camp invited 39 of the nation’s top quarterbacks to be counselors. Among them are the top signal callers in the nation, including Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham and Penn State’s Trace McSorley. Jackson joined Ball State’s Riley Neal as the only Mid-American Conference quarterbacks to be invited.
“It was an honor, and I was real blessed for the opportunity to go.”
A Quarterback Convention
The QB’s act as counselors for the young camp attendees. But more like a quarterback convention, it’s a chance to network with the top players, raise your own profile, and of course, hang out with Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning.
“It was real fun competing with those guys. I had seen Jarrett (Stidham) a couple of times this summer, and getting the chance to throw with him. Being with the Mannings, learning a lot from them about life and football. They’re real humble and great people to be around.”
But like a computer science major attending a Silicon Valley event and meeting Bill Gates or Marc Zuckerberg, Jackson made sure to ask questions of the Mannings.
“Peyton and Eli were coaching me up, just talking to me. They talked to me after we got done throwing about little tips and things that I can do.”
But Tyree’s most valuable time may have been at dinners, when he just listened.
“They’re just talking about anything, you’re more so listening than asking. You’re just soaking everything up. They’re telling you about everything they’ve been through. That’s real knowledgeable.”
The main message, especially from Archie Manning?
“Be a professional.”
Jackson’s Profile Rising
The six-foot-seven, 245 pound Jackson would not have been invited if he hasn’t emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. He has already been named to the Davey O’Brien Watch List, one of 26 QB’s in the running for the nation’s best under center.
He is being prominently mentioned in the early 2019 NFL Draft prospects, even though he is only a junior has two more years of eligibility at UB.
In another signal of Jackson’s growing NFL future, he spent a week in California working with QB guru Jordan Palmer. That included hanging out with Bills QB Josh Allen and Jets QB Sam Darnold, two other Palmer students.
Jackson said the time with Palmer was valuable in learning how improve his mechanics and understand defenses.
The relationship with Allen will grow, as Buffalo’s two big time QB’s play just miles apart.
Bulls Will Benefit
All of this will benefit a Bulls team that has high expectations for 2018. They have been picked to finish 2nd in the MAC East. A big reason why is Jackson and his connection to wide receiver Anthony Johnson, another top NFL prospect.
With Jackson, the Bulls will have the best quarterback on the field in almost all of their games. That should lead to a lot of wins.
While Jackson will graduate with a degree this year, his goals are to play in the NFL. The Manning Academy looks pretty good on his resume. It should look pretty good on the field too.