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It has been said that Fifth Ward is one of the roughest places to grow up in Houston TX.  Its a well-known area for crime, gangs, drugs, and prostitution. I know from first-hand experience since that’s where I grew up. It’s not easy not to become another statistic in the mean rough and tough streets of Fifth Ward. But we’re not talking about me, I want to talk about William Jackson lll.

William Jackson lll was born on October 27,1992 to parents Vanessa Hailey and William Jackson Jr.  In Houston, TX (Fifth Ward) he has four siblings three sisters and one brother. He has overcome being a statistic by having a strong support system from his mom, and what is considered a rare commodity in fifth ward his “Father” a lot of children wasn’t as lucky to have both parents in the household.  His father William Jr. was a fixture in his life, he stayed on him about working hard and being the best man and person you could be. He would go to work with his dad, who owned his own ac /heating company called Terrell AC/Heating Company. He always kept him busy and away from the streets, he had a phrase that he always used “sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to get to where you wanna be”. He got to the NFL by working hard and being consistent, it’s not easy coming from Fifth Ward to being the first round draft pick for the Cincinnati Bengals.

William Jackson lll was a standout football player at Wheatley High School in Houston’s Fifth Ward. He played corner back alongside Xavier Howard safety for (Miami Dolphins). They were the best one and two punch in the city as safety and corner back. William Jackson lll also goes by “William Bucktown Jackson” or “Lil Will”.

Lil Will did not get recruited by a major university so he went to Trinity Valley Jr. College. Where he did one year and was recruited by Tom Herman and the University of Houston Cougars. While at University of Houston he was still a stand out player but he was labeled as being too small, he over came that and became one of the best corner back in all of college football. He was considered a lock down cornerback.

On September 30,2013 he was named AAC (American Athlete Conference) player of the week, 2014 he was named to the AAC all conference second team, and in 2015 he was named on Phil Steel’s preseason all-American third team and his biggest collegiate accomplishment was when he was named MVP over the dominate power house Florida State he had 2 interceptions and 10 tackles one for a 6 yard lost and one of the best games of his  career. He ended his career at U of H with 40 pass break ups which put him third on the all-time list, despite only playing three years he ended his collegian career with a game clinching interception against Florida state.

He went on to be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft to the

with the 24th pick in the 2016 draft. Unfortunately he was injured in off season work out and was out for the whole 2016 season. He worked hard to get back in shape for the 2017 season in which he is projected to be a starter for the season opener.  He came home to do his first football camp and he did it for free. The camp took place at Wheatley High School in fifth ward, he also had a host of other NFL players to come out and help including another Houston native Brandon Lafell wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. The kids really enjoyed themselves, but to look at some of the professional players faces, they look as if they had more fun then the kids. I watched them bring the best out of the kids. They hit every drill in confidence, also I heard that kids tried to compete against the NFL player .

After the camp I interviewed William Jackson lll and his dad William Jackson Jr.

Interview:  J.H. William Jackson lll, how was it growing up In Fifth ward, what was the first sport you played, and how did you stay out of trouble?

W.J. It was rough, the first sport I played was football I went to football camps and I rode horses that kept me away from the streets.

J.H. How was it having both parents in your life?

W.J. My parents pushed me very hard they always wanted what was best for me

J.H. What was one thing your dad told you that made you want to work so hard?

W.J. Sometimes you got to do something you don’t want do to get where you wanna be

J.H. I see that stuck with you, I follow you on social media and I see how hard you been working to get back to play.

W.J. Yea I have always been a hard worker I’m just trying to get it in I want to be the best.

J.H. So did you have a chip on your shoulder when you went to U of H?

W.J. O yea I had a big chip I had to prove everybody wrong, that made me work harder. I would say the Fiesta Bowl against Florida State everybody counted us out. I won the game I had two interceptions and 10 tackles and I also won MVP.

J.H.What was it like getting drafted?

It was a blessing all my hard work paid off

J.H.You were drafted in the first round of the NFL draft with 24 picks did you expect that?

Yes they had projected me somewhere around that number

J.H.What was it like when you got hurt?

It was very humbling everything I worked hard for could have been gone, but that just made me work harder

J.H.What made you want to do a camp and do it for free?

Man I’m blessed I just wanted to give back to what I didn’t have, a lot of people can’t afford to go to a camp. I’m blessed to be in a position to make a lot of money it’s the least I can do.

J.H.Will you be back next year?

Yes I will be back next year even bigger

J.H.Good luck ,on the coming season


Interview: William Jackson Jr.

J.H.What was it like trying to keep Will out of trouble growing up in 5th ward?

W.J.Jr. He played football and rode horses, I took him to work, and kept him busy with football camps

J.H.Did he have any friends that fell victim to the streets

W.J.Jr He had a few but I  did my best to keep him out of that crowd

J.H.What was it like for you going through the draft process?

W.J.Jr. It was amazing unbelievable good time for him great time for all of his hard work was worth it

J.H.Did you play sports?

W.J.Jr. Yes I played basketball but I didn’t play for the school because it was just me and my mom, I had to work

J.H.Did you attend any colleges?

W.J.Jr. Yes I attended Universal Technical Institute I took up ac and heating

J.H.What kind of work do you do you do now?

W.J.JrI have my own business Terrell ac and heating, I been doing that for about 15 yrs

J.H.How was it raising him through college keeping him out of the party life?

W.J.Jr. He was focused all he did was work, it sounds hard but he did. I always told him to be on time and always be persistent and he is still that way today I was big on that. I also told him if you can  make time to party and your job not done that’s not gonna work you get to doing that to much you will get use to doing it.

J.H.If a kid came to camp and asked you what can you tell him to get where Will is what would you tell him?

W.J.Jr. Work hard, like I always told him and now its installed in him. Sometimes you got to do what you don’t want to get to where you wanna be if you work hard the sky is the limit.

J.H.I can tell that he is a very humble young man you raised him right not to many people come back and do what he did free football camp. How did you feel when he told you he wanted to dome free camp?

W.J.Jr. I was always big on giving back now through him it’s a reflection of me. I feel like some of these kids would never get the opportunity to attend a football camp, they don’t have a dad or somebody to look up too. You give them that opportunity that just might change there lives.

J.H.Did you see him being where he is now?

W.J.Jr Yes he can do whatever he wanted as long as he stayed focused

J.H.What is your other son name and does he play sports?

W.J.Jr. Devonte Jackson,No he works with me in the family business

J.H.What kind of influence did his mom have on him?

W.J.Jr She was there we have a good relationship we have a kid together we always talk about whatever involved him , but when we had to put our foot down we did and the outcome was positive

Food for thought:

You don’t often see a strong bond between a father and his son in the inner city but this is one for the ages, a father that’s proud of both of his son’s and son’s that are proud of there father

The Sports Corner with Jay the Barber