Top Port Neches-Groves lineman selects college team

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

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

Christian, who is going into his senior season at PNG for 2024-25, made the announcement on his social media pages earlier this month.

While he plays left tackle for the Indians, he is slotted as the No. 1 guard in the state and listed as 6’5” and 310 pounds.

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

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

He had offers from some of the biggest schools in the nation but ultimately landed with the Longhorns, who are coming off a College Football Playoff appearance and enter the Southeastern Conference (SEC) 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 undoubted leaders.

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

McCrary, who is a Texas grad, said the lineman did his due diligence with asking the former receiver about the university prior to his selection.

“Obviously, I am super biased and wanted him to go to Texas, but he would ask me real questions,” McCrary said. “He asked me what the town was like and how is it trying to get to class. He asked if they took care of students at the academic center. He never asked about partying. You can tell he is a smart kid and comes from a great family. You can tell they raised him right.”

Christian’s strength is evident even when first meeting him.

McCary said he would to give a friendly warning to recruiters, even though they are used to football strength.

“I tell them they are going to meet him and he is going to try and break your hand,” McCrary said, laughing. “He has the strongest handshake of any kid I have been around.”

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

McCrary, who joined the staff in 2022 when Head Coach Jeff Joseph was brought on to lead the Indians, said he thinks 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 is 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 intelligence to do anything. That part won’t be an issue at all.”

The former OC also said Christian’s leadership is earned.

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

The UT commit will reprise his role at the 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 eventually transferring to the University of Houston.