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Gila Ridge football star signs with NAU

D'Angelo Jackson signing letter of intent in front of teammates Gila Ridge High School linebacker D’Angelo Jackson signed his National Letter of Intent with Northern Arizona University on Friday, Mar. 6, 2020 to play football for the Lumberjacks in the fall.  

Jackson helped lead the Hawks (11-2) to their best season in school history as they won the Arizona Interscholastic Association 4A Section and won two playoff games en route to reaching the conference semifinals.

Throughout his senior season, Jackson was not only a leader on the field, but off it as well. He was voted the Southwest Region Defensive Player of the Year as well as making First Team All-Region and earning Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Defensive Player of the Year honors. He had 118 tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions in a dozen games last year.

When it came time to choose where to play at the next level, the decision was about where he felt the most comfortable.

“I just felt like it was the best fit for me,” Jackson said, “I like the culture over there. They see me at linebacker or tight end. I still need to get bigger. But right now, I’ll be at the linebacker.”

The impact Jackson had on the Hawks the past two seasons will be felt long after he moves on. Alongside his brother, D’Marco Garcia, the two moved to Yuma two seasons ago and were integral parts in the Hawks recent success.

“We are extremely proud and excited for D’Angelo to continue his education and athletics career at NAU,” said GRHS Athletic Director Steve Anderson. “He helped lead the way for our team the past two seasons and his impact will be felt for years to come. He will definitely be missed, but we couldn’t be more excited to see him continue to play football at such a high level.”

The Lumberjacks play in the Big Sky Conference in the National College Athletic Association’s Division I Football Championship Subdivision. They went 4-8 in 2019 under head coach Chris Ball. Their 2020 season opener is Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020 at Arizona State.

James Kuzniak