Former ASU QB makes NFL

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Former Alabama State University star quarterback Tarvaris Jackson made his first professional start last night when the Minnesota Vikings play the Green Bay Packers.

Commentators have said he understands the game. He’s also have been labeled as the future of the franchise.

Jackson was drafted in the second round of this year’s National Football League draft, the 64th overall selection and the fifth quarterback picked.

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He’ll also be the fifth rookie quarterback to start an NFL game this year, joining Vince Young (Tennessee Titans), Matt Leinart (Arizona Cardinals), Bruce Gradkowski (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Jay Cutler (Denver Broncos).

At a press conference on Tuesday, Vikings head coach Brad Childress said Jackson will &8220;give us the best chance to win right now, just based on what I saw off tape.&8221;

Jackson has played in two games for the Vikings, completing 17 of 27 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown.

Jackson has been the source of endless media and fan speculation over the last several weeks as the Viking offense has struggled. When he entered this past weekend’s game versus the New York Jets, cheers erupted from Vikings fans.

I think we needed a spark at that point in time (during the Jets game) and I think he gave it to us,&8221; Childress said. &8220;There is an evolution, as there will continue to be with a first-year quarterback, but he’s managed to put it on tape. I’m not foolish enough to think, having coached rookies before, that he’s not going to continue to evolve.&8221;

Jackson was ASU’s starting quarterback for three seasons (2003-05), passing for 7,849 yards and 67 touchdowns while leading the Hornets to the 2004 SWAC championship.

For his part, Jackson remains totally rooted.

At press time the Vikings were holding a 7-6 lead over the Packers in the fourth quarter with less than seven minutes to play. Jackson had completed nine out of 18 pass attempts for 52 yards and one interception.