Jackson Dillon is as down to earth as they come.
That's probably why not being able to play in Friday's Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State football game didn't bother him.
Of course, he wanted to. But as the former Ringling football star and now Memphis freshman will tell you, there are bigger fish to fry.
"I talked to the coaches when I signed and they told me we'd think about it," Dillon said. "I got here and I've been doing really well, gaining a lot of weight. We both agreed that, because we're starting camp on Thursday, it would be best to stay here."
Regardless, Dillon still recognizes being honored as an All-State football player from his beloved hometown of Ringling.
"It was a really big deal for me," said Dillon, who led Ringling to the Class A State Championship last fall. "My dad was All-State and it was just a big deal, coming from Ringling. We're so little and it's not everyday that someone gets something like that. It's one of the top honors that I've ever received."
Dillon reported to Memphis on June 3 and got right to work. The 6-foot-6 linebacker has already begun work in the classroom and weight room, along with retaining everything he can about his new position.
"I've been pretty busy," Dillon said. "I've already completed three hours and I'll be done with another class come Friday. As far as football goes, I've put on over 20 pounds. I came in at 211 and now I'm weighing about 233, which will help me with playing the outside linebacker, hybrid position in our 3-4."
But even with all the early work, Dillon isn't sure if he'll redshirt this year or not.
And if you think he's worried one way or another, you must not know him.
"They haven't said whether I'll redshirt or not. Obviously, I hope I don't have to, but if I do, then it's just a year for me to work on my body and prepare for next year," Dillon said.
"If I don't they've talked to me about playing kickoff, kickoff return and some other special teams," Dillon said. "We'll know more after camp, but I'm hoping I get to play and travel with the team."
Dillon, who committed to Memphis last summer, liked what the school, program and city had to offer. He hasn't been disappointed yet.
"I wanted to go here because it was new to me," he said. "I liked the city. The football program has turned around quite a bit. Last year they won four games. The previous staff won three in three years. The whole town seems excited. People stop and talk to me about football every day. The coaches are great and all of my teammates are a lot like me. It was just a really great fit for me."
Dillon, like most in Memphis, is anxious for the upcoming season, for both himself, and the program.
"I feel like everyone else. We've got everything it takes for a bowl appearance. I expect to be in a bowl game," he said. "Everyone's buying in. We've had a really good summer of workouts. I think it'll be a great season for us. We're going to turn this place around.
"I hope I get the chance to play. If I redshirt, I'll benefit from that, but getting to play my first year would be awesome. Hopefully, it'll all work out."
And the transition from a town of just over 1,000 to a city that exceeds 1,000,000 seems to be going about like you'd expect.
"I don't get to hunt or fish as much as I used to or I'd like," Dillon said. "They have a lot more stoplights than we do in Ringling, we don't have any. It's somewhat of a change, but people here are the same. They're just good ol' country boys like me."
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