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D’Eryk Jackson makes long-awaited return following Achilles injury

Impressive to say the least.

Photo via @Derykjackson4 on Twitter

Just seven months after rupturing his Achilles tendon during a spring practice, Kentucky Wildcats inside linebacker D’Eryk Jackson returned to the gridiron and made his 2021 debut during the blowout win over New Mexico State.

Jackson, a true sophomore who is eligible for a redshirt this season, recorded three total tackles in Saturday’s win over the Aggies. The Georgia native was rated as the No. 47 inside linebacker in the country by 247 Sports.

“I think that’s a really big confidence boost when you think about a guy who suffered an Achilles injury in the spring,” UK defensive coordinator Brad White told reporters postgame. “To be back already making plays, it’s a testament to his work ethic and how much time he put in. It was a great job with our training staff to get him to this point and get him ready. It’s always nice to get people back to build depth at the end of a season.”

Jackson signed with Kentucky as a 3-star prospect from Georgia and enrolled early in the winter of 2020. Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Purdue were his other finalists.

Last season, he recorded four total tackles and grabbed an interception during the Wildcats’ 24-2 home win over Mississippi State.

It will be interesting to see how much, if at all Jackson plays this week vs. a Louisville Cardinals team that features Malik Cunningham, arguably the best dual-threat QB in America. Perhaps Jackson can give Kentucky a handful of snaps to help keep the linebackers fresh against one of their toughest assignments this season.

Even if Jackson doesn’t log a snap, it’s great that he’s healthy now and ready to bounce back strong in 2022.