DU Receives Recruiting Commitment
Dusty Jackson Will Join Pioneers Next Fall
By Eric Stromgren
FARIBAULT, MN. — Dusty Jackson will continue his hockey career in the Rocky Mountains.
The Express forward made a verbal commitment this week to attend the University of Denver and play hockey in the WCHA for the Pioneers this fall. Jackson led the Southern Minnesota Express in scoring in the regular season with 16 goals and 31 assists.
"Once I knew it was going to happen I was thinking back to my childhood and when I used to play street hockey dreaming of playing for a team. It was a dream and now it's a reality," he said.
"I was kind of shocked and I've been on cloud nine for the last few days."
Jackson, who played prep school hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault, joined Southern Minnesota after two seasons with defunct Billings in the North American Hockey League.
A native of Omaha, Neb., Jackson is Southern Minnesota's points leader with 14 goals and 31 assists for 45 points this season.
Jackson remained on the ice for over 10 minutes after Wednesday's practice with Jesse Junkermeier working on different moves. Head coach Pat Cullensaid that is nothing unusual for Jackson.
"That's part of the good thing about him, he will put in his time and he'snot afraid to work hard. He's a good kid on and off the ice," Cullen said.
When the Billings franchise folded at the end of the 2005-06 season, Jackson searched for a new team and came to Southern Minnesota hoping to receive more attention from college scouts. He was in contact with representatives from Canisius, Air Force and Army this season.
"I was struggling over the summer but I feel like I made the right decision to come here and I couldn't be happier," Jackson said.
He said that the biggest hurdle was gaining admission to Denver University, which is ranked No. 85 on the U.S. News and World Report's 2006 college rankings. He filled out the application in February and once he was accepted, Jackson said it was "smooth sailing from there."
He plans to pursue a career in sports medicine.
Jackson became the third Express player this season to commit to a Division I school. Kevin Wright will attend Air Force Academy and Jeff Carlson will attend the University of Alaska-Anchorage next fall. Jackson becomes the eighth player in Express history to commit to a Division I college.
"We're very happy and when you get quality people, that's what happens. It's exciting to see where our kids are going to," Cullen said.