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Former Lake Dallas standout Jackson declares for NFL draft

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

Former Lake Dallas standout Josh Jackson declared for the NFL draft Wednesday, bringing his career at Iowa to a close. 

Jackson announced his decision on his Twitter account:

"Growing up, it has always been my dream to play in the National Football League," Jackson wrote. "I am excited for the next step and humbled by this great opportunity."

Jackson was a consensus All-American and the Big Ten's defensive back of the year as a junior. He was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive back.

Jackson led the nation in interceptions with eight and in passes defended with an average of 2.0 per game. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns, forced a fumble and blocked a kick.

Jackson had one of his best games against North Texas this season. He intercepted a pass, broke up two more and blocked a field goal in the Hawkeyes' 31-14 win over the Mean Green.

CBS Sports rates Jackson as the top cornerback in the upcoming NFL draft. ESPN has Jackson ranked second.

Jackson was a lightly recruited prospect out of Lake Dallas and committed to the Hawkeyes over offers from Colorado State, Nevada and New Mexico State.

Jackson started just one game at cornerback in 2016 before bursting onto the scene nationally this season.

He now will have a chance to build on Lake Dallas' history of success in sending players to the NFL. Offensive lineman Daryl Williams — another Lake Dallas graduate — started all 16 games for the Carolina Panthers this season, while quarterback James Franklin participated in the Detroit Lions' training camp before being cut. 

Franklin played for Missouri, while Williams starred for Oklahoma.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.