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Bears Make Key Addition With TCU Portal Transfer QB Sam Jackson

January 11, 2023
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The Bears made a key offseason portal addition with today’s signing of former TCU redshirt frosh QB Sam Jackson today. The former 4 star prep QB from Naperville, IL was rated the #1 overall player in Illinois before committing to TCU as an early entrant in 2021.

"Sam is a young and talented athlete who is developing rapidly as a quarterback," said Cal head coach Justin Wilcox "We are excited to get him started in our program and continue to accelerate his development."

As a true frosh in 2021, the 5-11/185 Jackson made appearances in two games and had two carries for 11 yards and a 77-yard completion in his only pass of the season. As a redshirt frosh in 2022, he completed 5-of-5 passes for 61 yards and had nine rushes for 61 yards (7.11 ypc) and two TDs on the ground.

As a prep player at Naperville Central (Naperville, IL) High School, Jackson was rated a 4 star dual threat QB and #1 QB in Illinois by 247 and the #1 player overall in Illinois by ESPN, who also rated him 204th in the ESPN 300.

Originally a wide receiver, Jackson totaled 50 catches for 847 yards and 14 touchdowns as a soph before switching to QB his junior year in 2019 where he threw for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns. With no senior season due to Covid, Jackson was an early entrant at TCU after choosing the Horned Frogs over Oregon, Notre Dame, Purdue and Minnesota.



The speedy QB should give Cal offensive coordinator Jake Spavital the dual threat weapon he’s looking for to run his wide-open style of offense at Cal. Jackson will enroll for spring semester and be available to participate in spring ball. He will be the 20th addition to the Bears’ 2023 class and the 10th addition via the portal. He will have three seasons of eligibility at Cal.

Stay tuned for more from Jackson as available.

Related:

Former U of I WR and 4 Star Prep Recruit Hightower Signs With Cal

Bears Add Tennessee Portal Transfer RB Justin Williams-Thomas

Discussion from...

Bears Make Key Addition With TCU Portal Transfer QB Sam Jackson

15,213 Views | 59 Replies | Last: 13 days ago by burritos
GoOskie
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Go Bears!
calumnus
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Welcome Sam!
BearBones
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Congratulations on making a terrific choice Sam. Hearing that you are coming to Cal made my day (and that of a lot of Cal football fans). We are really looking forward to watching you shine next fall in Cal's revamped, wide open offense!
Big C
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Welcome to the Cal Family, Sam! We can't wait to cheer you on. Go Bears!
bearsandgiants
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Welcome Sam! Go Bears! Naperville Central is a top public HS. Nice transition to the top public University!
Goobear
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Sam welcome to Cal Football. Wishing you and your family the best of success on and off the field. Go Bears!
DiabloWags
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Welcome!
Porsche . . . "There is no substitute."
BearoutEast67
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Sounds like a great addition!
zorbarick
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This is really exciting news. I have to imagine some of our skill players on offense are also feeling a lot better today. Go Bears!
BearSD
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Welcome!

Should be able to get up to speed quickly, because Spavital will run an offense similar to what Garrett Riley ran at TCU this past season.
MoragaBear
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Staff
TCU highlights added to the story:

Grrrrah76
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Action Jackson
89Bear
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What a stud athlete!!!
Ott, Cardwell, J Will, Hunter, Anderson, Starling, Hightower....
Wow!!! This is gonna be exciting.



Bobodeluxe
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BearSD said:

Welcome!

Should be able to get up to speed quickly, because Spavital will run an offense similar to what Garrett Riley ran at TCU this past season.
Wait?!?!

Gimmick offense returns?
Rushinbear
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Bobodeluxe said:

BearSD said:

Welcome!

Should be able to get up to speed quickly, because Spavital will run an offense similar to what Garrett Riley ran at TCU this past season.
Wait?!?!

Gimmick offense returns?
not any more.
59bear
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Nice pickup. Now, please, do something with the OL to protect him!
91Cal
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Welcome to the family, Sam and the Jackson family! Super excited for you to add to the lineage of great Cal quarterbacks!

Go Bears!
wc22
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sycasey
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Sam Jackson?!

oski003
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"And You Will Know My Name Is The Lord When I Lay My Vengeance Upon You!"
bledblue
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So Jackson was a 4 star recruit out of H.S., but has played very little in 2yrs. He's had 14 plays in that time with FIVE passes thrown. Was the 3rd string QB, and is now somehow our savior?
He's unproven. He's a great athlete, but is still a huge gamble! Shouldn't they be looking for someone who actually has game experience? I could see the excitement if he was the 2nd string guy, but Sonny had him at 3rd for a reason.
Bobodeluxe
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bledblue said:

So Jackson was a 4 star recruit out of H.S., but has played very little in 2yrs. He's had 14 plays in that time with FIVE passes thrown. Was the 3rd string QB, and is now somehow our savior?
He's unproven. He's a great athlete, but is still a huge gamble! Shouldn't they be looking for someone who actually has game experience? I could see the excitement if he was the 2nd string guy, but Sonny had him at 3rd for a reason.
Calm down, and take a big swig.

Big C
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bledblue said:

So Jackson was a 4 star recruit out of H.S., but has played very little in 2yrs. He's had 14 plays in that time with FIVE passes thrown. Was the 3rd string QB, and is now somehow our savior?
He's unproven. He's a great athlete, but is still a huge gamble! Shouldn't they be looking for someone who actually has game experience? I could see the excitement if he was the 2nd string guy, but Sonny had him at 3rd for a reason.

I bet you anything they plan to bring in a grad-transfer-type QB in, as well, who will compete with Jackson to start. They probably told Sam that the starting job is there to be won and if the other guy edges him out, it's only for a year. The QB room is still thin.
BearGreg
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Staff
bledblue said:

So Jackson was a 4 star recruit out of H.S., but has played very little in 2yrs. He's had 14 plays in that time with FIVE passes thrown. Was the 3rd string QB, and is now somehow our savior?
He's unproven. He's a great athlete, but is still a huge gamble! Shouldn't they be looking for someone who actually has game experience? I could see the excitement if he was the 2nd string guy, but Sonny had him at 3rd for a reason.
There's a risk inherent with any QB who hasn't played much. Ceiling feels high with Jackson and perhaps that's what mitigates the risk for the staff?

As for being third string, Jackson was a RS Freshman in 2022 competing with a four year starter (who was a Heisman finalist and took his team to the Natty) and a third year player who had thrown 80+ passes prior to this year and who beat out the Heisman finalist.

All three were in contention for the job right up until the first week of the season and all three played.

We're not too many years away from the #1 NFL draft pick having been the third string QB behind Mahomes and Davis Webb

bledblue
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BearGreg said:

bledblue said:

So Jackson was a 4 star recruit out of H.S., but has played very little in 2yrs. He's had 14 plays in that time with FIVE passes thrown. Was the 3rd string QB, and is now somehow our savior?
He's unproven. He's a great athlete, but is still a huge gamble! Shouldn't they be looking for someone who actually has game experience? I could see the excitement if he was the 2nd string guy, but Sonny had him at 3rd for a reason.
There's a risk inherent with any QB who hasn't played much. Ceiling feels high with Jackson and perhaps that's what mitigates the risk for the staff?

As for being third string, Jackson was a RS Freshman in 2022 competing with a four year starter (who was a Heisman finalist and took his team to the Natty) and a third year player who had thrown 80+ passes prior to this year and who beat out the Heisman finalist.

All three were in contention for the job right up until the first week of the season and all three played.

We're not too many years away from the #1 NFL draft pick having been the third string QB behind Mahomes and Davis Webb


We will see if he's all everyone here is talking about. I hope you are right! Seems more inclined to run than pass, but athletic running QB's usually do until they are forced to throw.
calumnus
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BearGreg said:

bledblue said:

So Jackson was a 4 star recruit out of H.S., but has played very little in 2yrs. He's had 14 plays in that time with FIVE passes thrown. Was the 3rd string QB, and is now somehow our savior?
He's unproven. He's a great athlete, but is still a huge gamble! Shouldn't they be looking for someone who actually has game experience? I could see the excitement if he was the 2nd string guy, but Sonny had him at 3rd for a reason.
There's a risk inherent with any QB who hasn't played much. Ceiling feels high with Jackson and perhaps that's what mitigates the risk for the staff?

As for being third string, Jackson was a RS Freshman in 2022 competing with a four year starter (who was a Heisman finalist and took his team to the Natty) and a third year player who had thrown 80+ passes prior to this year and who beat out the Heisman finalist.

All three were in contention for the job right up until the first week of the season and all three played.

We're not too many years away from the #1 NFL draft pick having been the third string QB behind Mahomes and Davis Webb




Let's also keep in mind that TCU just went to the National Championship Game. A RS freshman playing behind two experienced QBs on a team with a great offense. We just stole Sonny's QB of the future.
Pittstop
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Purdy was 3rd string with the Niners, and had taken probably fewer snaps at the pro level than Jackson at the collegiate level when he was thrown into the fire. Maybe?
GivemTheAxe
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MoragaBear said:

TCU highlights added to the story:


Wow. Spav is taking one of Sonny's 4* recruits just as Sonny reaches the high point of his career..
Any explanation for Action Jackson wanting to leave Sonny and his high scoring offense.
In my opinion (for what it's worth) Action Jackson should be a better candidate than the oft-discussed Rogers.
concernedparent
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GivemTheAxe said:

MoragaBear said:

TCU highlights added to the story:


Wow. Spav is taking one of Sonny's 4* recruits just as Sonny reaches the high point of his career..
Any explanation for Action Jackson wanting to leave Sonny and his high scoring offense.
In my opinion (for what it's worth) Action Jackson should be a better candidate than the oft-discussed Rogers.
Sat behind a more polished QB that originally beat out Duggan.
bearsandgiants
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bledblue said:

BearGreg said:

bledblue said:

So Jackson was a 4 star recruit out of H.S., but has played very little in 2yrs. He's had 14 plays in that time with FIVE passes thrown. Was the 3rd string QB, and is now somehow our savior?
He's unproven. He's a great athlete, but is still a huge gamble! Shouldn't they be looking for someone who actually has game experience? I could see the excitement if he was the 2nd string guy, but Sonny had him at 3rd for a reason.
There's a risk inherent with any QB who hasn't played much. Ceiling feels high with Jackson and perhaps that's what mitigates the risk for the staff?

As for being third string, Jackson was a RS Freshman in 2022 competing with a four year starter (who was a Heisman finalist and took his team to the Natty) and a third year player who had thrown 80+ passes prior to this year and who beat out the Heisman finalist.

All three were in contention for the job right up until the first week of the season and all three played.

We're not too many years away from the #1 NFL draft pick having been the third string QB behind Mahomes and Davis Webb


We will see if he's all everyone here is talking about. I hope you are right! Seems more inclined to run than pass, but athletic running QB's usually do until they are forced to throw.


Or suffer an injury.

Just hoping for the best and not counting on anything until the second portal window closes in may.
FloriDreaming
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The third-stringer from TCU is going to save Cal football.

Yeah.

Welp. Hit the books, kid, get that Cal diploma. That's your future, it sure as hell ain't Justin Wilcox.
calumnus
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FloriDreaming said:

The third-stringer from TCU is going to save Cal football.

Yeah.

Welp. Hit the books, kid, get that Cal diploma. That's your future, it sure as hell ain't Justin Wilcox.


Context is decisive. TCU was just in the NCG. The two guys ahead of him were seasoned, experienced QBs. They made it to the NCG. He played anyway. He was TCU's future. Now he is at Cal.
bledblue
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Pittstop said:

Purdy was 3rd string with the Niners, and had taken probably fewer snaps at the pro level than Jackson at the collegiate level when he was thrown into the fire. Maybe?
Because it's such. a common. thing for a third string QB to play well? You're talking about the exception to the rule! The vast majority. of 3rd stringers are not worth much.
bledblue
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BearGreg said:

bledblue said:

So Jackson was a 4 star recruit out of H.S., but has played very little in 2yrs. He's had 14 plays in that time with FIVE passes thrown. Was the 3rd string QB, and is now somehow our savior?
He's unproven. He's a great athlete, but is still a huge gamble! Shouldn't they be looking for someone who actually has game experience? I could see the excitement if he was the 2nd string guy, but Sonny had him at 3rd for a reason.
There's a risk inherent with any QB who hasn't played much. Ceiling feels high with Jackson and perhaps that's what mitigates the risk for the staff?

As for being third string, Jackson was a RS Freshman in 2022 competing with a four year starter (who was a Heisman finalist and took his team to the Natty) and a third year player who had thrown 80+ passes prior to this year and who beat out the Heisman finalist.

All three were in contention for the job right up until the first week of the season and all three played.

We're not too many years away from the #1 NFL draft pick having been the third string QB behind Mahomes and Davis Webb


From the 5 passes I've seen him throw, I still think he doesn't throw as well as Mendoza. This is all about his running skills. Not a very big guy either!
calumnus
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bledblue said:

Pittstop said:

Purdy was 3rd string with the Niners, and had taken probably fewer snaps at the pro level than Jackson at the collegiate level when he was thrown into the fire. Maybe?
Because it's such. a common. thing for a third string QB to play well? You're talking about the exception to the rule! The vast majority. of 3rd stringers are not worth much.


Again, the first guy, Max Duggan, is a senior who finished second in the Heisman voting on a team that made it to the National Championship Game.

And while Jackson was nominally third on the depth chart, he played essentially as much as the #2 guy, Chandler Morris who was a year ahead of him, and many believed Jackson would beat him out next year.

CJ Stroud lead the nation in passing this year. Three years ago he was third on the depth chart at Ohio State behind Jr. Justin Fields and Sr. Gunnar Hoak.

If CJ Stroud had transfered to Cal after that first year would you be complaining that "he was only third string"? Again, you have to look at the context.

We essentially just got a guy that had a good chance at starting next year for the team that made it to the National Championship Game. It is a major coup.

I have been a Wilcox critic and a Spavital skeptic, but I am more optimistic now than at anytime in the last 6 years.
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