Jackson drafted by Broncos in seventh round
By BRIAN KESSLER
Assistant Sports Editor
If seven wasn't Jarious Jackson's favorite number, it probably is now.
He wore it on his quarterback jersey for four years at Notre Dame and Sunday, and he was chosen by the Denver Broncos in the seventh and final round of the NFL Draft.
"Actually, I wasn't even watching [the draft at first] and now I'm a Bronco," Jackson told the South Bend Tribune Sunday. "I started to get a little nervous, but when I was getting nervous, that's when the phone started ringing."
"I'm excited for him," offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers said. "He's going to a great organization and it's a situation where he can legitimately go in and compete for a job."
Jackson, a native of Tupelo, Miss., was the 11th quarterback taken in the draft and the 214th overall selection. Georgia Tech's Joe Hamilton was the only quarterback taken after Jackson.
After the season, the Broncos released Bubby Brister and lost Chris Miller to retirement. Former Michigan quarterback Brian Griese is expected to start for Denver and recent acquisition Gus Frerotte will most likely be penciled in as the backup, but the third string job is wide open.
"They are a little unsettled at the third quarterback spot, so it's a great opportunity for him," Rogers said. "I think they'll be impressed with him too. They will be pleased with how quickly he picks things up, his arm strength and what a quality guy he is."
Jackson threw for more than 4,800 yards and 34 touchdowns as a two-year starter for the Irish. Last season, he completed 184 of 316 passes for a school-record 2,753 yards.
"I think he knows it's a great situation for him," Rogers said. "He's excited to go to Denver where they have had great success over the past few years. He'll be working with a quality quarterback coach in Gary Kubiak and [head coach] Mike Shanahan."
Jackson was the only Irish player drafted this weekend, but other Irish players are looking to pick up free agent contracts.
"It's not much different than the college recruitment process," Rogers said. "Teams are making an objective evaluation. I wish something happened for them, but a lot of the guys did sign free agent deals."
Cornerbacks Deveron Harper and A'Jani Sanders signed with the Carolina Panthers, while wide receiver Bobby Brown will be doing Lambeau leaps as a member of the Green Bay Packers. Safety Deke Cooper signed with the Arizona Cardinals.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, April 18, 2000