The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

GRC alumnus becomes a champion

Ben Jackson is a former GRC football player and now plays for Miami University which just won the MAC championship. (Photo submitted)

Every little boy’s dream is to one day be standing under the lights with a championship trophy hoisted way above their head. With all eyes on them, the crowd roaring, the parents crying, and all the glory in the palm of their hands, there’s nothing more they want in life. 

Ben Jackson, former GRC football player, got to live this fantasy. Ben and the rest of the Redhawks for Miami University of Ohio had a stellar 10-2 regular season that was capped off by winning the MAC (Middle American Conference) Championship after beating the Toledo Rockets.

Jackson played a huge part in the success of this team, being the starting right guard, and got to feel the joy that every boy longs for.  

“It was a feeling like no other,” said Jackson. “It has been a crazy ride over the past five years and to finally make it on top was probably the coolest moment of my life.”

Once again, Jackson’s importance to the success of this team is second to none. In fact, he made the game-winning block that sealed the win for his team in the championship game. His running back had an easy path to the end zone after

Ben threw his opponent to the side, making him pack his bags and head back to Toledo. Miami’s defense made one final stop and it all came crashing down on Jackson. 

“We take the final knee to run out the clock and I immediately started crying tears of joy…I finally gain composure of myself and start celebrating with my teammates, just giving massive bear hugs to anyone wearing a Miami jersey,” Jackson recalled. “But then I saw my fiance and family in the crowd and the water works fired right back up again.” 

While currently on top of the world, it hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. It’s been a wild ride for Jackson. He’s had his setbacks, mainly injuries, throughout his five-year career as a redhawk, but his determination kept him pushing forward. 

“Injuries stink,” he said. “I have absolutely had my fair share of them along the way in my college career. I was on the fence when it came to returning back to Miami for a 5th year, but in my head I kept thinking ‘I can’t go out like this. This can’t be the end to my story.’”  

He went on to say, “I knew that if I decided to hang up the cleats after last season that I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. I would have always wondered ‘what if’.” 

Now, after all the injures that held him back, he’s a Division 1 conference champion. Not a lot of people have a chance to say that. His determination is commendable, something that he learned during his time as a GRC Cardinal.

“The work ethic that I learned from being a GRC student athlete definitely helped prepare me for being a college student athlete,” he said. “I played both football and basketball while I was at GRC and both of those really helped develop me in terms of showing me the work ethic that is needed in order to be successful in your sport.”

Miami teammate and close friend of Ben, Kolby Borders, has high praise for him when it comes to this work ethic, but also his leadership on the team at Miami. 

“Ben has not only been a role model, but a great teammate throughout his time here,” said Borders. “He keeps everyone level headed when things get bad and is always fun to be around. Benny always sets the tone for us and I think that’s why we had success this season.” 

Borders also had to credit Ben for being an awesome human being in general. 

“Benny is a dawg,” he said. “He is always caring about others. He’s inviting people to his house to watch football games or he’s cooking meals. He’s never in a bad mood and is always positive.”

The final thing Borders mentioned is what sums it up best. “Benny is a terrific person. We’d all do anything for him.” 

Recently, GRC football has been on the climb after two winning seasons in a row and introducing a wonderful coaching staff into the mix.

Ben Jackson shined on the field for four years in Winchester and has some words for athletes currently shining in Cardinal Stadium that might want to follow in his footsteps and make it to the next level.

“I would tell them to fall in love with the game and enjoy the ride… too many times I see guys who are always worried about what’s next for them and they forget to just breathe…So for anyone out there looking to make it to the next level, don’t forget to take a breath and be in the moment. Being a Cardinal is some of the most memorable times of my life; don’t miss out on that.” 

What an incredible story. A local guy that was once strolling the hallways of GRC is now a D-1 football champion. Faced with tribulation and adversity, he came out on top and proved to everyone that he is both an incredible player and an incredible person. He represents GRC with incredible valor, but also with kindness and heart. If there was a Cardinal football hall of fame, he’d be up there with the greats.

Ben and the Redhawks face App State for their bowl game on December 16th in Orlando, Florida. Make sure to tune in and support our local legend!


GRC football alumnus Ben Jackson had a shining season with Miami University (Ohio).
View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Clay Turley
Clay Turley, Multimedia Staff
Hey, my name is Clay Turley and I’m so excited to be a part of Smoke Signals for my second year. A little bit about me is that I love playing sports with my friends and kicking their butts. I also love reading, playing guitar, going to church, and hanging out with my family. So that’s all the boring stuff about me; now to get into the fun stuff. I think that Inception is the best movie of all time, country music is by far the best, and hot dogs are superior to cheeseburgers. Don’t trust anyone who says something different.

Comments (1)

All Smoke Signals Student Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • B

    BradDec 16, 2023 at 9:28 am

    Ben is an outstanding young man, great article Clay!