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Top lineman from Port Neches-Groves selects college team – Port Arthur News

Port Neches-Groves’ top lineman selects college team

Published at 00:20 on Wednesday, May 29, 2024

PORT NECHES – Port Neches-Groves’ Jackson Christian, one of the state’s top offensive linemen, committed to the University of Texas.

Christian, who will be entering his senior season with PNG for 2024-2025, made the announcement on his social media pages earlier this month.

While he plays left tackle for the Indians, he is listed as the No. 1 guard in the state and is listed as 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds.

No. 74 Jackson Christian joins his Port Neches-Groves teammates in a rally during the 2023 state championship game in Arlington. (Brian Quijada/The News)

He received offers from some of the nation’s biggest schools, but ultimately ended up with the Longhorns, who will join the Southeastern Conference (SEC) after a College Football Playoff appearance this fall.

Former PNG offensive coordinator Cade McCrary, who spent the past two seasons with the Indians, said Christian is one of the team’s undisputed leaders.

“He is one of the most humble and grounded kids I have been around in my 10 years of coaching,” McCrary said. “He’s very charismatic and a great kid. His size gives him away pretty quickly, but just talking to him you wouldn’t know he’s one of the most sought-after prospects.

McCrary, a Texas graduate, said the lineman did his due diligence by asking the former receiver about the college prior to his selection.

“Obviously I’m very biased and wanted him to go to Texas, but he would ask me real questions,” McCrary said. “He asked me what the city was like and how it was trying to get to class. He asked if they were taking care of students at the academic center. He never asked about parties. You can tell he’s a smart kid and comes from a great family. You can tell they raised him well.”

Christian’s strength is evident when he first meets him.

McCary said he would give recruiters a gentle warning, even if they are used to football power.

“I tell them they’re going to meet him and he’s going to try to break your hand,” McCrary said with a laugh. “He has the strongest handshake of any kid I’ve seen.”

Christian started for PNG as a sophomore and was a big part of the team’s success in the run to the 2022 state championship game. As a junior, he was an anchor for the team that lifted the championship trophy at the end of the football season.

McCrary, who joined the staff in 2022 when Head Coach Jeff Joseph was named to lead the Indians, said he believes Christian will make a seamless transition from tackle to guard at the college level.

“At that level, a tackle’s foot speed has to be elite, and that’s the only part of his game that might not be elite right now,” McCrary said. “Moving him to guard kind of eliminates that. He is super strong and has the intelligence to do anything. That part won’t be a problem at all.”

The former OC also said Christian’s leadership is well-deserved.

“He leads the whole team,” McCrary said. “And it’s not fake leadership. It’s not a situation where he has all the offers, and everyone sees that. When he speaks, those guys listen.”

The UT commit will reprise his role at left tackle in 2024 as PNG looks to make a third consecutive trip to the state championship game and earn a potential back-to-back championship.

The pipeline from PNG football to the University of Texas has been fairly strong in recent years, with former quarterback Roschon Johnson playing running back for the Longhorns for four years. Another former PNG lineman, Jaylen Garth, committed to play for the Longhorns in 2020 before ultimately transferring to the University of Houston.

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