Canon Jackson

Trinity grad Canon Jackson at WKU practice

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Western Kentucky Hilltopper Canon Jackson got the thrill of a lifetime last week, even if he was too exhausted to celebrate.

First-year head coach Tyson Helton surprised Jackson with a scholarship after a Hilltoppers practice.

“It was kinda tiring after practice, so I wasn’t overwhelmed with joy,” Jackson said.

But the Trinity High School graduate was surely happy, even if he was too tired to show it. After redshirting in his freshman year in 2015, he continued as a walk-on from 2016-18 and played sparingly. The full-ride scholarship now as he heads into fifth year on The Hill was a relief to him and his family.

“My mom cried, of course" Jackson said. "She’s a big crier, so she cried. Dad was super proud.”

Jackson said his father gave him some valuable advice when he was younger that carried him when Jackson thought about giving up.

“My dad always said once you start something, don’t quit. Never quit. Just finish it out," he said. "So that just stuck with me ever since I was a little kid."

“He’s done it the right way,” Helton said of Jackson. “He’s been a good student. He’s played some. He’s a senior, so he’s put in his time here. Those are the main factors you look for as a coach.”

Those factors led Helton to award Jackson with a scholarship, and now Jackson can focus on football rather than his family’s finances.

“It’s just a feeling of relief," he said. "Just knowing that ... my parents don’t have to struggle to get (me) through school."

WKU opens the season Aug. 29 at home against Central Arkansas.

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