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Football: Former Ohio gunslinger making noise in UIFL

As a few of his former teammates attempt to make the jump from college football to the NFL, former Ohio quarterback Boo Jackson is also hoping to take a step up the football ladder.

Nearing the end of his first year as a member of the Marion Blue Racers in the United Indoor Football League, Jackson is hoping his athleticism will stand out to potential scouts in other leagues.

Jackson threw for 38 touchdowns and more than 4,000 yards as a quarterback at Ohio from 2008 to 2010. Now, he is earning his points a different way.

With the team’s primary kicker Trey Kramer attending to family business out of town two weeks ago, Jackson volunteered to kick in his absence.

“In the UIFL, you’re only allowed to have an 18-man roster,” Jackson said. “They had guys come in and try out (at kicker), but they wanted to have one of our guys on the team do it. I was like, ‘I can do it if you guys want to save a roster spot.’ ”

Jackson converted five of his six extra point attempts and was named the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week. His team defeated the Huntington Hammer 98-6.

But that’s not all he can do.

Jackson serves primarily as the Blue Racers’ top receiver but also has seen time at quarterback, holder and defensive back, where he has an interception returned for a touchdown.

Competing in the UIFL reminds Jackson of playing high-school football, where he starred at multiple positions.

“Boo Jackson is one of the most versatile players we’ve had for a long time,” said Marion assistant head coach Jimmy Johnson. “You can use him on offense, you can use him on defense, you can use him on special teams because he’s an athlete.”

It is his versatility that Jackson said he hopes will allow him to move up to the Arena Football League, Canadian Football League or possibly the NFL.

“With this league, there’s a chance you could get pulled up at any time,” Jackson said. “We’ve got guys going to tryouts for AFL teams this week.”

As part of the UIFL stipend, teams help to provide players with jobs on the side, along with the $300 to $500 they make per game.

But Jackson said he does not currently have another job because he is trying to avoid getting too settled in.

“I’m trying to move up, so I don’t want to get a reputation of having a job and then quitting and going somewhere else,” he said. “Some guys can have jobs if they’re not trying to move up, and this is something they’re doing just because they love the game. The money is alright, but it’s not the greatest thing in the world.”

After dislocating his shoulder on a kick during a game two weeks ago, Jackson was forced to miss last weekend’s game.

Jackson said he has recovered from the injury now, but missing one game might cost him more than just on the stat sheet.

Both Jackson and Johnson said that they were unsure of whether a player gets paid if they are unable to play because of injury.

Luckily for Jackson, the Blue Racers currently own the third-best record in the league and will likely qualify for the playoffs, meaning up to three more games worth of pay.

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