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Football: Alexandria's Daniel Jackson shines at a national kicking showcase

For the third time, Alexandria's Daniel Jackson competed at the Kicking World National Showcase in Austin, Texas.

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Alexandria sophomore Daniel Jackson (left) and Brent Grablachoff (right) take a photo at the 2022 Kicking World National Showcase in Austin, Texas. Jackson competed at the showcase on Dec. 3 and 4, 2022.
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Current sophomore Daniel Jackson has been a fixture for the Alexandria football program in recent years and for the third time, he was selected to compete in the Kicking World National Showcase from Dec. 3-4 in Austin, Texas.

“It was super exciting to get to see again my kicking friends,” Jackson said. “I hadn't seen them since last year, and it’s only like a yearly occurrence to get to see them, but it was great. It was great to connect with the staff again, and they're always very helpful. It was just super awesome to kick in warmer weather.”

85 student-athletes were invited to participate in the event and 75 made the showcase.

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Alexandria sophomore Daniel Jackson shakes hands with Kicking World camp coordinator Brent Grablachoff at a national showcase in Austin, Texas. Jackson competed at the showcase on Dec. 3 and 4.
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“It’s always exciting seeing all our students come out to Austin for the big weekend,” Kicking World coach Brent Grablachoff said. “Back in 2020, Daniel made his first appearance as a then 8th-grader and since then, he’s continued to blossom nicely.”

With this being Daniel’s third time at the showcase, Grablachoff has seen a lot of growth from Daniel at the camp.

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“Daniel always had a beautiful leg swing, taking quickly to our coaching of fundamentals and technique,” Grablachoff said. “He’s really been able to run with it these last three years.”

In the two-day event, there were kickoffs, field goal kicking, and punting that totaled six events.

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Alexandria's Daniel Jackson kicks during the 2022 Kicking World National Showcase on Dec. 3 and 4, 2022, in Austin, Texas. This was Jackson's third time competing in the event.
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“I wanted to stay consistently around the top 10,” Jackson said. “There was one freshman, some sophomores, juniors, and seniors there. “Wo staying in the top 10 out of juniors and seniors was a pretty big goal, and I managed to about in the top 10 for kickoffs and punts."

Jackson made 10 out of 13 field goals at the competition in the two days combined. He placed He also placed 13th in the punting elimination competition and fourth in the kickoff elimination competition.

“It's really nerve-wracking in the moment than before,” Jackson said. “Before, I'm really nervous, but the feeling of accomplishment after it is unmatched by almost anything. It’s the most exclusive kicking camp in the country. We saw a little over 1,200 students during our regular season instructional camps and Daniel was one of just 85 invited this year. 75 of the 85 invitees made it to Texas for the big weekend, and there was so much talent there.”

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Alexandria's Daniel Jackson (far right) takes a photo with fellow competitors at the 2022 Kicking World National Showcase in Austin, Texas.
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With these finishes, Jackson established himself as one of the best student-athletes at the showcase.

Grablachoff said the way that Jackson handles kicks, and his preparation are some of the things that make him a strong student-athlete.

“Daniel handles his kicking with surgeon-like precision,” Grablachoff said. “He’s constantly studying his own form and finding inefficiencies to better maximize his potential. He often plays reviews, example videos of our NFL students as well as attentively watching most college and NFL games trying to pick up cues from other successful kickers.”

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With this showcase being the third time he’s been invited and gone to it, Jackson has gotten himself pretty familiar with the layout of it all.

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Alexandria's Daniel Jackson takes one of his many kicks at the 2022 Kicking World National Showcase from Dec. 3-4, in Austin, Texas.
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“We do specific drills, which I've done for three years now, and I pretty much know the curriculum, you could call it,” he said. “At the high-level camps, coaches can give you a lot more detailed instruction individually because they've seen you kick more, and it's at a higher level of camp. So you're using more advanced, and that’s one thing that's difficult. So they don't want to mess with your form and such. But some tips they give you throughout the weekend are mostly mental. So if you miss a kick or something, they'll encourage you and maybe give a side note on something physical that you did wrong, but nothing that'll make you overthink things.”

Jackson has spent a lot of time at camps such as these. And at these camps, Jackson says he’s made great connections with people like him.

“I've connected with so many like-minded people,” he said. “It's actually a very, very cool community that I didn't know existed when I was in seventh grade. The coaches I've met and the other athletes I've met are great. We all can give each other advice and encourage each other and help each other in the recruitment process for everyone, and it's just a really cool community.”

Heading into the offseason and what will be his junior year, Jackson has goals set for himself.

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Alexandria sophomore Daniel Jackson takes one of the many field goals he attempted at the 2022 Kicking World National Showcase from Dec. 3-4 in Austin, Texas. This was Jackson's third time competing in the showcase.
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“I want to have a great college camp season this summer,” Jackson said. “I'm working on kicking off of the ground for those camps so I can get better looks and have it be more realistic because you have to kick it off the ground in college, and that's what coaches want to see. So I want to be able to transition to that well and perform well at these college camps. So hopefully, that leads to recruitment increasing, and coaches will be able to talk to me on Sept. 1, 2023. So that's really exciting for me, and then I got big goals for the season, basically just breaking my own personal records and maybe breaking the state field goal distance record here next year.”

For Alexandria this season, Jackson was named the Special Teams Player of the Year and he was named to the All-North Central Red District Team. He won the All-North Central Red District Special Teams Player of the Year.

Jackson made five field goals and 23 extra points this season. One of his field goals was a 52-yarder that is the third-longest in state history.

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He had 17 punts this season and averaged 33.59 yards per punt. His longest punt of the year was a 57-yard punt and he pinned three punts inside the 20-yard line.

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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