All-America, 1971 ACC Player of the Year, 1971 All-ACC, 1971 Only ACC Player Named Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week in Same Season
By the end of his senior season in 1971, defensive back Ernie Jackson was billed as the ACC's "Can Do Kid," and justifiably so. The 5-10, 170-pound Jackson was called the finest defensive player in Duke history by coach Mike McGee and was named to virtually all the All-America teams.
Jackson was selected ACC defensive back of the week three times his senior season and became the first defensive player in ACC history to be named ACC player of the Year. But he did more than just play defense. In addition to returning two interceptions, he also returned a punt for a touchdown, averaged nearly 25 yards a kickoff return and when injuries left holes in the Blue Devils' offensive backfield, stepped in to play running back. He turned in his best game against Navy, when he rushed for 181 yards and one touchdown on just 17 carries. For that effort, Jackson was named the ACC's offensive back of the week, the first and only time in ACC history that a player won offensive and defensive honors in the same season.
After graduating from Duke in 1972, Jackson went on to a nine-year career in the NFL.
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