Justin Jackson
refer to caption
Jackson with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021
No. 42 – Detroit Lions
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1996-04-22) April 22, 1996 (age 26)
Chicago, Illinois
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Glenbard North
(Carol Stream, Illinois)
College:Northwestern (2014–2017)
NFL Draft:2018 / Round: 7 / Pick: 251
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career NFL statistics as of Week 15, 2022
Rushing yards:1,209
Rushing average:4.9
Rushing touchdowns:5
Receiving yards:598
Receiving touchdowns:1
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Justin Joseph Jackson (born April 22, 1996) is an American football running back for the Detroit Lions in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Northwestern.

Early life and high school career

Jackson was born to Phil Jackson Sr. and the late Denise Jackson in Carol Stream, Illinois on April 22, 1996. Jackson was the youngest of three siblings. However, when Jackson was three years old, his mother, Denise, died from breast cancer. Jackson’s father did remarry, and his stepmother is Veronica Jackson.[1]

Jackson started playing football in second grade with the Carol Stream Youth Football Association Panthers because of Phil Jackson Jr., Justin’s older brother, who began at the same time but in fourth grade. Phil Jackson Jr. ended up going to Northwest Missouri State, winning three Division II national championships. According to his father, Jackson dominated on the field in his youth.[2]

Jackson attended Glenbard North High School, where he played high school football alongside his brother during sophomore year.[3] Jackson did well in school, and in sports. He was a three-sport high school athlete with a nearly 5.0 grade point average.[4] Jackson played football, basketball, and track in high school. Jackson holds the Glenbard North record for career rushing yards and ranks sixth all-time in IHSA history for career rushing yards (6,531 yards) and seventh all-time in rushing touchdowns with 85.[5] As a junior in 2012, Jackson competed in the state finals against Mount Carmel high school. In that game he returned an interception over 79 yards for a touchdown; but was held to 65 yards rushing on 26 carries. Mount Carmel won the game 28-14. As a senior in 2013, Jackson recorded 42 carries for 405 yards and five touchdowns in a 40-34 win over eventual 8A state champion No. 15 Naperville Central. He finished the 2013 season with 3,171 rushing yards in 11 games, the second most in a single season in IHSA history; the 3-seeded Panthers were upset in the second round of the playoffs by 6-seed and eventual 8A semifinalist Stevenson High School (Lincolnshire, Illinois),[6] otherwise Jackson would have had up to three more games to rush for 155 yards for the Illinois single-season record. Jackson was also a member of the Honor Roll and French Honors Society. He was ranked No. 5 overall prospect out of Illinois by Scout.com and the No. 4 all-purpose running back in the nation by 247Sports.com.[7] He was the winner of the Gatorade High School Football Player of the Year award for the state of Illinois for the 2012–13 and 2013-14 seasons.[8]

College career

After being one of the most successful high school running backs in Illinois history, Jackson joined the Northwestern Wildcats football team in 2014.[9] Jackson has also set many records in his collegiate career. In his freshman year, he started five of 12 games which he led the Wildcats in rushing each week, finishing with 1,187 yards and 10 touchdowns on 245 carries (22 catches, 201 yards, one touchdown receiving) to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten notice from league coaches. Jackson was a second-team All-Big Ten pick in 2015, racking up 1,418 yards and five scores on 312 carries (ranked third in the FBS), along with 21 catches and 162 yards as a receiver. In 2016, Jackson still carried the ball 226 times for 1,300 yards and 12 scores – and caught 33 passes for 210 yards – in a second-team all-conference junior season by coaches. He finished off the year with a 224 yard, three-touchdown effort against the Pitt Panthers in the 2016 Pinstripe Bowl where he showed off his quickness, vision, and efficient running style. Jackson became the leading rusher in Northwestern history and became the ninth player in NCAA history to have four years with 1,000 yards. He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection with 287 carries for 1,311 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing along with 44 catches for 276 receiving yards.[10]

College statistics

Rushing statistics[11]
2014 245 1,187 4.8 68 10
2015 312 1,418 4.5 62 5
2016 298 1,524 5.1 68 15
2017 255 1,154 4.5 79 9
Career 1,110 5,283 4.8 79 39
Receiving statistics[11]
2014 22 201 9.1 35 1
2015 21 162 7.7 28 0
2016 35 219 6.3 37 0
2017 43 266 6.2 24 0
Career 121 848 7 37 1

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
5 ft 11+58 in
(1.82 m)
199 lb
(90 kg)
30+58 in
(0.78 m)
9+14 in
(0.23 m)
4.52 s 1.57 s 2.62 s 4.07 s 6.81 s 38.5 in
(0.98 m)
10 ft 2 in
(3.10 m)
13 reps
All values from NFL Combine[12][13][14]

Los Angeles Chargers

Jackson was drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers in the seventh round (251st overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.[15] He was waived on September 3, 2018 and was signed to the practice squad the next day.[16][17] He was promoted to the active roster on September 24, 2018.[18] He made his professional debut in Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers.[19] In a Week 6 game against the Cleveland Browns, he recorded his first three professional carries, which went for four yards.[20] In Week 13, against the Pittsburgh Steelers on NBC Sunday Night Football, he had eight carries for 63 yards and his first professional rushing touchdown.[21] The following week against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jackson made his first career start following injuries to Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, rushing for 58 yards on 16 carries and scoring a touchdown.[22] Overall, he finished the 2018 season with 206 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to go along with 15 receptions for 135 receiving yards.[23] He made his postseason debut with two carries for five rushing yards in the 23-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Round.[24] He had three receptions for 22 yards in the 41-28 loss to the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round.[25]

In the 2019 season, Jackson finished with 29 carries for 200 rushing yards in seven games.[26]

Jackson entered the 2020 season as the No. 2 running back to Austin Ekeler. He suffered a knee injury in Week 9 and was placed on injured reserve on November 14, 2020.[27] He was activated on December 12, 2020.[28] In Week 17 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jackson recorded 104 yards from scrimmage during the 38–21 win.[29]

In Week 8 of the 2021 season, against the New England Patriots, Jackson had a career-long 75-yard run.[30] In Week 15, against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jackson led the Chargers in carries with 13 for 86 yards rushing and a 13-yard reception, totaling 99 yards from scrimmage.[31]

In the 2021 season overall, Jackson had 542 all-purpose yards, 364 rushing and 178 receiving, which is the highest total of his career so far.[32]

Detroit Lions

On August 1, 2022, Jackson signed with the Detroit Lions.[33] He was released on August 30, 2022 and signed to the practice squad the next day.[34][35] He was promoted to the active roster on September 14.[36]

Political views

Jackson is an outspoken advocate for left-wing politics.[37] He endorsed Bernie Sanders in his second presidential run in 2020. He is the host of The Takeover with Justin Jackson and has appeared on several left-wing channels including Chapo Trap House, the Jimmy Dore Show, Krystal Ball's segment of Rising on The Hill, and the Michael Brooks Show. On Twitter, Jackson exchanged comments with Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden after he critiqued an email of hers which insinuated that the United States of America should take Libya's oil to help mitigate the U.S. deficit.[38] Jackson has also criticized Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many other progressive Democrats in Congress for refusing to withhold their votes for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House of Representatives until Pelosi agreed to bring Medicare for All to a floor vote.[39] In February 2021, Jackson started The Takeover with Justin Jackson, a progressive commentary show on YouTube.[40] Jackson is good friends with fellow activist and commentator Kyle Kulinski who in Jackson's own words has influenced him, and has assisted in his political journey.[41]


  1. ^ "The Justin Jackson Story: A humble, homegrown success at Northwestern". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  2. ^ McGraw, Mike. "Jackson followed brother's footsteps to become one of NU's greatest runners". Daily Herald. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Paschall, John. "Signing Day 2014: Running back Justin Jackson has been a long time coming for Northwestern". Daily Northwestern. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  4. ^ "For 'Unicorn' Justin Jackson, Knowledge is King". www.chargers.com. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  5. ^ "IHSA Boys Football All-Time Individual Records (Rushing)". ihsa.org. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  6. ^ "2013 Illinois High School Football Playoff Brackets: IHSA (Class 8A) - MaxPreps". www.maxpreps.com. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  7. ^ "NU Sports - Justin Jackson - 2017 - Northwestern University". Northwestern University Sports. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  8. ^ "Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers, Running Back". 247Sports. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  9. ^ "Justin Jackson College Stats". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  10. ^ "NFL Draft & Combine Profile - Justin Jackson". www.nfl.com. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Justin Jackson". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  12. ^ "Justin Jackson Draft and Combine Prospect Profile". NFL.com. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  13. ^ "2018 Draft Scout Justin Jackson, Northwestern NFL Draft Scout College Football Profile". draftscout.com. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  14. ^ "Justin Jackson's 2018 NFL Scouting Combine Workout". NFL.com. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  15. ^ Stanley, Matthew (April 28, 2018). "Los Angeles Chargers select RB Justin Jackson". BoltsFromTheBlue.com. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "Chargers Announce Trio of Roster Moves". Chargers.com. September 3, 2018.
  17. ^ Henne, Ricky (September 4, 2018). "Bolts Sign RB Justin Jackson to Complete Practice Squad". Chargers.com. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  18. ^ "Chargers Sign Justin Jackson to Active Roster; Waive Detrez Newsome". Chargers.com. September 24, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  19. ^ "San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Chargers - September 30th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  20. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns - October 14th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  21. ^ "Chargers Pull Off Comeback, Beat Steelers 33-30 on Late Field Goal". NBC Southern California. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  22. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs - December 13th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  23. ^ "Justin Jackson 2018 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  24. ^ "Wild Card - Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens - January 6th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  25. ^ "Divisional Round - Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots - January 13th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  26. ^ "Justin Jackson 2019 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  27. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers Sign Kalen Ballage to Active Roster; Place Justin Jackson on Injured Reserve". Chargers.com. November 14, 2020.
  28. ^ "Chargers Activate Justin Jackson from Injured Reserve". Chargers.com. December 12, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  29. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs - January 3rd, 2021". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  30. ^ "Can't-Miss Play: Justin Jackson's shifty 75-yard run requires all the gas in his tank". NFL.com. December 17, 2021. Retrieved December 17, 2021. Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson's shifty 75-yard run requires all the gas in his tank
  31. ^ Rotowire, Staff (December 17, 2021). "Chargers' Justin Jackson: Nears 100 total yards in loss". CBS Sports. Retrieved December 17, 2021. Jackson carried the ball 13 times for 86 yards and also caught his lone target for 13 yards in Thursday's 34-28 loss to the Chiefs.
  32. ^ "Justin Jackson Stats Summary". NFL.com. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  33. ^ "Lions sign RB Justin Jackson". Lions Wire. USA Today. August 1, 2022.
  34. ^ "Lions announce roster moves". DetroitLions.com. August 30, 2022.
  35. ^ "Lions announce roster moves". DetroitLions.com. August 31, 2022.
  36. ^ "Detroit Lions re-sign RB/KR Justin Jackson to active roster". Pride of Detroit. SB Nation. September 14, 2022.
  37. ^ Kludt, Tom (January 21, 2020). "How NFL running back Justin Jackson became an unexpected star of the left". The Guardian.
  38. ^ @J_ManPrime21 (January 5, 2020). "Wikileaks exposed you for wanting to take Libyan oil as "payback" for overthrowing their government. Libya is now a…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  39. ^ @J_ManPrime21 (December 12, 2020). "If @AOC and the squad don't do what..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  40. ^ "The Takeover with Justin Jackson". YouTube. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  41. ^ Ball, Krystal; Kulinski, Kyle (January 30, 2021). "Episode 5 Audio: Justin Jackson". Krystal Kyle & Friends. Retrieved August 8, 2021.