Mona Shores Football’s Tyree Jackson Named High School Athlete of the Week [Video]
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound senior quarterback threw 24 touchdowns and 2,315 yards on 147-of-234 passing and ran for 787 yards and 14 touchdowns on 125 carries in his fourth season as a starter for the Sailors. In addition, he was the team's punter and back-up kicker.
He led Mona Shores to its first playoff berth in 2013 and to the state finals this fall. After an injury had forced him to watch the ending of Mona Shores' 25-24 Division 2 semifinal win over Farmington Hills Harrison from the sidelines a week earlier, he managed to throw for 102 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 14 more in a 44-8 loss to Warren De LaSalle in the state championship at Detroit's Ford Field.
Jackson and senior DeOntay Moffet, who ran for 1,524 yards and 19 touchdowns, gave Coach Matt Koziak's Sailors a potent running game and a balanced offensive attack. They were two of four co-captains for the senior-laden Sailors, along with Noah Dykstra and Austin Wingett.
One of two quarterbacks selected to The Associated Press' Divisions 1-2 all-state squad, Jackson is one of five finalists for MLive Michigan High School Football Player of the Year being announced Saturday in Ann Arbor.
As Koziak readily attests, Jackson's development as a football player has mirrored the team's improvement. Mona Shores was 1-8 his freshman year, 4-5 in 2012 and 7-3 in 2013. He ranks second all-time for career TD passes with 83, has thrown for more than 7,500 yards over four years and ranks in the top five in MHSAA history in passing touchdowns, yards, attempts and completions. Koziak told The Muskegon Chronicle/MLive that Jackson is "very team oriented, very team driven. He just wants to win."
Jackson says he had a "better feel" for things as a junior and that "things really started to kick in this year. ... I was more comfortable in there in those roles, in those situations. The game was a lot slower for me."
For the Sailors, Jackson said a 10-7 loss to Rockford in the season's third game after wins over Saline (31-28) and Fruitport (48-7) laid the foundation for the team to work harder and kick things into a higher level.
"That's when everything chilled for us somehow," he said. "I think we were maybe too confident. It was like, 'Now it's time to go to work and go to practice.'"
That was evident as Mona Shores outscored its last six regular-season opponents 280-85, including a 48-27 regular-season finale over perennial power Muskegon en route to the Ottawa-Kent Conference Black Division title. And it was more of the same in the postseason, as the Sailors kept overcoming "the underdog" role in just their second time in the playoffs.
That's how Jackson views things -- in the "we" and not the "me." It's part of his humble approach to things.
Meanwhile, there is little time for Jackson to rest after football, since he plays power forward on Mona Shores' boys' basketball team. In addition, he is a University of Buffalo football commit and can't officially sign his NCAA letter of intent to play for the Bulls until Feb. 4, 2015.
Carrying a 3.7 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale, the 17-year-old Jackson says he hopes to major in physical therapy or mathematics education in college. He currently is a peer tutor at Mona Shores.
The son of Susan and Fluarry Jackson, his brother, Fluarry "DJ," is a Hope College graduate who led Muskegon High School to a football state title in 2008; and his sister, McKenzie, is a Davenport University sophomore who was part of DU's NCA national championship cheerleading squad.