Former Hahnville star Jha’Quan Jackson drafted by NFL’s Titans

Jha'Qiuan Jackson (Photo courtesy Tulane Athletics)

Former Hahnville and Tulane star Jha’Quan Jackson is living his dream.

On Saturday, Jackson was selected round six of the NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans, at 182 overall.

The Luling native missed four games for Tulane as a senior but made an impact nonetheless as both a wide receiver, a rusher and a return specialist. He finished seventh in the AAC in yards per reception at 16.88 and finished his final season with 26 catches for 439 yards and four touchdown catches. In 2022, his 90-yard touchdown return against Memphis was the second-longest in both school and conference history and he was named Second Team All-AAC as a returner. His 87-yard touchdown reception against USC in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl tied the Cotton Bowl record and was tied for the third-longest in school history.

During his time at Hahnville, Jackson played both quarterback and wide receiver. At the former position, he was key for the Tigers. topping the 1,000 yard rushing mark and helping to lead Hahnville to the Class 5A championship game in 2017. That year, the Tigers became the first team and only to win at Acadiana in AHS head coach Ted Davidson’s storied career. Hahnville went 12-3 that season and finished as state runner-up.
Jackson joins a Titans team and offense that also features his former Tulane teammate and college roommate, running back Tyjae Spears.

A video capturing Jackson’s elated reaction to receiving the phone call Saturday that informed him he was about to be a Titan.

Nick Saltaformaggio was Jackson’s head coach for Hahnville’s 2017 run to the Superdome. He said nobody could be more deserving to have that draft day moment.

“If there were ever a kid who deserved to get drafted, it was Jha’Quan,” said Saltaformaggio, who is now head coach at Franklinton. “He was everything you could ask for, and everything I could ask for at Hahnville. He was an outstanding student and tremendous in the locker room, a tremendously hard worker. And I don’t think people gave him enough credit for how hard he did work.”

He was pumped up to hear the news the Tiger alum was drafted.

“I was fired up,” Saltaformaggio said. “I was following it online on ESPN and when I saw it, and when I saw the video of how excited he was on social media, I was besides myself. It couldn’t happen to a better human being.”

Hahnville’s run that season ended in the state championship game with a loss to Zachary. For Jackson, the chance to compete for a championship was compromised when he suffered a leg injury on the very first drive of the game, suffering a torn MCL. Zachary went on to win 34-14.

“I truly believe this and I’ll go to my grave believing this until the day I die – if he doesn’t get hurt on the first play of that game, he’s a state championship quarterback,” Saltaformaggio said.

Jackson shared a backfield with Pooka Williams that season as Hahnville demolished opposing teams in the running game. Defenses had a true dilemma in that either player could find a seam and be gone to the endzone from anywhere on the field. Jackson’s ability to make defenders miss is perhaps his defining trait on the field and it followed him to Tulane, especially shining through in his work in the return game.

“He’s extremely twitchy,” Saltaformaggio said. “I don’t think you could hit him in a phone booth with a bucket of rocks. He’s naturally talented.”

Saltaformaggio said Jackson understood early on, however, that talent wasn’t enough, noting his work ethic was exceptional with the Tigers.

“I tell my teams you’ve got to be good in the classroom, good in the locker room and good in the weight room, and Jha’Quan was great in all three,” Saltaformaggio said.

“He was a true blue Hahnville Tiger. He’s a guy I’d put on the Mount Rushmore of the program I had in my six years there – I’d say Adonis Friloux, Brandon Singleton, of course Pooka and Jha’Quan. He’s one of the very, very best guys I’ve ever coached and he will go down as one of the very best guys I’ve coached.

 

About Ryan Arena 2979 Articles
Sports Editor