Buccaneer Spotlight - Fred Godfrey and David JacksonSeptember 22, 2010
By CSU Sports Information
Spend nine years with someone and there is no question you would know everything about them, the way they think, the way they act and the way they react to different circumstances. Now in their redshirt senior seasons, Fred Godfrey and David Jackson are hoping that their friendship over the past nine years will lead to more success on the field for Charleston Southern.
Both played four years at West Ashley High School for Coach Fred Hamilton. Both came to CSU in 2006 and redshirted the season. Now, both are linebackers at CSU, a position that has a proud tradition at Charleston Southern.
Dating back to 2003 Big South Freshman of the Year Jonna Lee and 2006 Defensive Player of the Year Jada Ross, CSU has produced a number of the top linebackers in the Big South. Most recently, Andrew McKain and Ross were honored by The State paper as All-State and All-Decade, respectively.
“We take a lot of pride in the linebacker position,” said Jackson. “We had three different coaches before we got Coach (Thielen Smith). We just had to learn the position and make the most out of it. Now we really feel like we have some consistency and are able to continue that legacy that has been established.”
Godfrey agreed. “We have big shoes to fill, and we knew that coming in. We have a great coach in Coach Smith. He was one of the best linebackers ever at LSU and he tells us all the time that he takes a lot of pride in our position.”
The connection, both spoken and unspoken, that Jackson and Godfrey have will help both in filling those shoes.
“There’s no question it helps to have been around each other for so long,” said Jackson. “I know how he’s going to play, I know what he’s going to do on each play and I can almost predict his moves because I’ve seen it so many times.”
Despite being grouped together the majority of the time, each has their own story. Jackson chose CSU because he had a scholarship offer. Godfrey took the harder road and joined the team as a walk on. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before Mills and his staff decided to reward his hard work with a scholarship.
Each has their own role on the team as well. “Since he was a defensive back in high school, he’s the cover guy and I’m the tackler,” said Godfrey, whose stats proved his point holding a 67-42 edge in tackles over Jackson last season. In fact, Godfrey returned for his senior year as the leading tackler, having finished second on the team to McKain in 2009.
Godfrey began his senior year with 111 career tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries. So far in 2010 he is averaging eight tackles per game and already has one tackle for loss.
Jackson had 89 tackles coming into this season and has been a versatile player for Mills. Coming in as a defensive back, Jackson knew they wanted him to switch to linebacker. At 6-2, 235 pounds, he has filled the position nicely, even moving up to serve as a stand up pass rusher on the defensive line at the WOLF position.
The duo hopes that their connection on the field will not only help them individually, but help the team accomplish the goals for the season. No matter which one you ask, both guys are a key part of the success of the 2010 version of the Buccaneer football team.
“The defense is the strength,” said Jackson. “When we get a big stop and can get the ball back for our offense, it lifts the team. We try to bring excitement and want to be the backbone of the team.”
“I think it’s the seniors,” added Godfrey. “This is one of the biggest senior classes in the school’s history and most of us came in together and redshirted that first year. I remember coming in and having a locker next to Josh (Atkinson) and L.B. (Cravey). Kwame (Krakue) was my roommate my freshman year. We’ve grown together and I think if we take the coaching and keep our assignments, we can accomplish what we want to this year.”
Though neither will say what their specific goals are, you can tell by the fire in their eyes that the goal is a championship. Returning 19 seniors from last year’s squad that finished near the top of the Big South makes it appear that lofty goals are attainable by this group.