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Chargers draft Jackson

For four years, Vincent Jackson played in the shadows of the college-football landscape. His next stop will be in the NFL.

Jackson, a record-setting star receiver at tiny Northern Colorado, was selected in the second round of the draft by the San Diego Chargers on Saturday. "This is, like, perfect, man," Jackson said from his home in Colorado Springs, where he celebrated with friends and family. A 6-foot-6, 235-pound receiver, Jackson rewrote the record book at tiny UNC, catching 177 passes for 3,548 yards and 20 touchdowns in four seasons. He wasn't heavily recruited out of Widefield High School, and in fact, was more highly thought of for his basketball skills than football. UNC coach Kay Dalton heard about Jackson, but not until football season was over. Dalton said he went down to see him in a basketball game "just to see if he was for real," and watched Jackson get a double-double. "That pretty much convinced me," Dalton said. The Chargers were convinced, too, and they'll have a big receiver to go on a roster that includes a very notable small-school surprise, Antonio Gates. Gates was an undrafted rookie out of Kent State in 2003. In two seasons, he has become one of the top tight ends in the league. Jackson said he hasn't had much communication with the Chargers and coach Marty Schottenheimer. That will come later. On Saturday, he was simply happy to be chosen, and ready to continue a career that hardly seemed possible when he was an undersized, unknown receiver at Widefield. "I understand that coming from a smaller school, I'm going to be an underdog as far as these picks go," Jackson said. "It's another obstacle I have to face. It just makes me stronger."

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