Kordell Jackson returns for his fifth season this fall with APSU football. | THE ALL STATE ARCHIVES

For Kordell Jackson and the APSU football team, the fifth time might be the charm.

A two-time consensus All-American, Jackson opted to return for his fifth and final collegiate season with the Govs, in hopes of becoming an Ohio Valley Conference and eventual FCS National Champion.

His aspirations as a senior in last spring’s conference slate were for “nothing less than” a national championship. The Governors, who hoisted a conference title and reached the FCS Quarterfinals two years ago, finished third in the OVC with a 4-2 mark and missed the FCS Playoffs.

Although they may have underachieved at times six months ago, Jackson’s expectations have remained the same for this fall.

“Moving forward, I want to be the best person I can be for the team and just help us win a championship, honestly,” he said. “My primary goal for myself and for the team is to win a national championship and a conference championship.  

“That’s really the only thing on my mind as far as personal (goals) because at the end of the day without the team, I’m nothing. I couldn’t play football if it wasn’t for Austin Peay, so I’m thankful for the opportunity, and I’m just trying to make us stay on the map and continue to get better.” 

The conference has once again named Jackson as its Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. He finished the segmented 2020 season with 55 tackles, a team-leading 9.5 tackles for loss and an interception.

Another solid showing could place him amongst the all-time greats in APSU history. The defensive back needs five interceptions to share a tie for the school’s all-time picks leader and could move inside the top 10 in tackles for loss.

“This guy made a commitment to his team, to the place he signed his letter of intent to, and made a commitment to go win, win big, finish what he started and leave a legacy,” said head coach Scotty Walden.

“No matter what happens this year, whether we win every game, lose every game, it doesn’t matter; my respect level for Kordell Jackson will always be at an all-time high, maybe more than any player I’ve ever coached, because of that level of commitment. You don’t find that in your best player nowadays. “

A Sergeant York trophy, a conference championship and a national title are all goals that the program holds for this fall, but Walden said that he and his players have bought into the message that talk is cheap.

Jackson is joined by all-conference returnees Jack McDonald, Bucky Williams, Colby McKee and Draylen Ellis – the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. The Govs are projected to finish tied with Southeast Missouri for second in the preseason rankings. Rival Mu**ay State has been picked to be the favorite.

“We feel like we should be number one,” Jackson said. “We’re just going to do everything we can to try and go 1-0 each and every game to prove that we’re number one.” 

APSU begins its season Sept. 2 at UT-Chattanooga.