Palm Beach Central High School dual-sport athlete Tre Jackson recently committed to play Division I football for the University of South Dakota in the fall. The Coyotes compete in the Summit League-Missouri Valley Football Conference.
The senior excelled at both football and basketball, but focused on a college career in football. His accolades are deep, not typically in the statistical fashion, but as a team leader, according to Bronco head football coach Tino Ierulli.
“Tre stuck with the program when he could have easily [gone] to other programs,” Ierulli said. “Despite our two rebuilding years, Tre saw it through, and because of that, showed great leadership and commitment to the program. He is loved and respected by all his coaches and teammates. He was absolutely a leader.”
Although Jackson gravitated toward football, he chose basketball to maintain a high level of conditioning to keep him in shape for football. Although he began playing football in the third grade with the Western Communities Football League, basketball also attracted his interest.
“I started playing basketball in sixth and seventh grade, but I was cut from the team,” Jackson said. “I kept playing and got better, and made the team at Emerald Cove Middle School in eighth grade.”
Jackson could have surrendered to being cut from his middle school team. However, it instead served as motivation for him to persevere and eventually achieve success. He went on to play at Palm Beach Central High School in both football and basketball. After a brief stay on the freshman teams, he moved up to varsity and started as a sophomore.
“Tre worked at a level of commitment unseen by any dual-sport athlete in my five years at Palm Beach Central,” Bronco head basketball coach James Pitman said. “Playing football and basketball is a full-time commitment with no real down time.”
Not only did the cornerback grow mentally, developing into a team leader, he worked to increase his physique for football. “I’m six-foot and 165 pounds now, and want to get to 185 for college,” Jackson said. “I was only 127 pounds my sophomore year.”
Jackson quickly became one of the team leaders on both the gridiron and the court, and has been revered by his coaches and peers. Jackson helped lead the Broncos on both teams. In football, the Broncos won the district championship and finished 8-3 and unbeaten in the district.
Jackson was also chosen to participate in the Florida vs. Georgia All-Star football game. “I played corner, and it was a good experience,” he said. “It was fun.”
On the court, he helped his squad start off to a 6-0 record, district runner-up honors, and was selected to play in the Palm Beach County All-Star game. Jackson’s personal achievements consist of all-county first team and all-conference first team.
If you ask Jackson what helps motivate him, it’s not just the thirst for success. It is the drive to make his parents proud.
“My parents work hard; my mom kept pushing academics on me because academics come first, and she does a lot for me,” he said. “My dad has helped train and prepare me, and he has always helped me.”
Jackson wants to make graduating from college his priority and understands the challenges he has yet to face. He plans to study kinesiology. “It’s something that interests me,” he explained.
Although set to embark on his college career to honor his scholarship as a Coyote student-athlete, Jackson reflected on his senior season.
“My breakout game was the Atlantic game. I had three picks in that game,” he said. “I think that game helped me in the offer from South Dakota.”
Jackson illustrates a humble demeanor and attributes his success to his coaches from both sports.
“Coaches Ierulli and Pitman helped us to be our best as a player and as a man, and helped me to become a leader,” he explained. “We have a bond that can’t be broke.”
Jackson will join Palm Beach Central alum Luis Peguero and Royal Palm Beach alum Shamar Jackson, who also play for South Dakota.
Although he has never seen snow, he welcomes the change in climate.
“I’m ready to go and excited,” Jackson said. “We’ll be playing in a dome, but I’m sure we will be in the snow, too.”
Jackson embraces the Coyote family and looks forward to beginning the next chapter in his life, competing not just on the football field but also in the classroom. He hasn’t discounted keeping basketball in his future and mentioned he would be interested in trying out for the Coyote hoop squad.
“Keep working hard and never give up on your dreams,” were his parting words to the rising athletes suiting up as Broncos next year.
To follow local athlete Tre Jackson in his career with the South Dakota Coyotes, visit www.goyotes.com.