Wheelersburg HS boys’ tennis standout Drew Jackson signed with Mt. Vernon Nazarene University Saturday, with plans to compete for the Cougars beginning in the fall of 2019.
Jackson is a senior at Wheelersburg and will begin his senior year of high school competition in the spring of 2019 where he hopes to repeat for the fourth straight year as the SOC player of the year. Through his first three seasons of high school competition, he has posted an outstanding record of 77-9 with two state tournament appearances under his belt.
Jackson said his choice of Mt. Vernon Nazarene for his post-secondary studies and collegiate competition has more to do with their off-court interests in him. “A lot of schools were semi-interested” said Jackson, “But this school was interested in me as a person instead of a tennis player, whereas other schools were the opposite. Rather than me being a star player, they’re (Mt. Vernon Nazarene) more interested in what I’m going to do after tennis.” Jackson said he plans to study finance and business administration as a student athlete at Mt. Vernon Nazarene.
The Cougars of Mt. Vernon Nazarene University compete in the NAIA level of collegiate athletics in the Crossroads League.
Cougars head coach Daniel Doan corroborated Jackson’s sentiments about the interest in him as a person first and a tennis player second. “I try to coach and recruit from a three dimensional perspective” said Doan, “It’s one thing if tennis is your life and that’s important, but there’s always a lot more to it and there’s usually other factors than people want to admit. The broken arm theory: hypothetically, if Drew were to break his arm, would he still want to go to Mt. Vernon? I think he would. It’s not just about tennis, there should be more to it.”
On the courts, however, Doan believes that Jackson’s left-handedness is a luxury to have and will impact the way opposing players will game plan in preparation for their matches. “It’s a great attribute to naturally be a left-handed tennis player” said Doan, “Especially in doubles, there’s some pretty intense doubles matches in college. Just to have him as a lefty, to be able to develop some of the aspects of his left handed tennis game, is awesome. But naturally, just stepping out on the court, to have everything reversed, he makes it complicated for his opponents and makes it better for his teammates just because he is left handed.”
Doan said that because in college matches there are six singles competitions and three doubles competitions, he plans to use Jackson in both singles and doubles, assuming his chemistry on the court is compatible with that of one of his future teammates.
Following his signing, Jackson said he is looking forward to the opportunities that playing at Mt. Vernon will give him as a person and a player, “It’s a real privilege to go to a Christian atmosphere and to be around people who are focused on what they want to accomplish.”