Driphus Jackson Goes From Spirals to STEM

Driphus Jackson headshot
Driphus Jackson. Photo courtesy of Cedar Hill ISD

(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) A decade ago, Driphus Jackson was possibly the most recognizable person in Cedar Hill. An All-American Quarterback who excelled academically, Jackson was the face of Longhorn Football for the latter part of the 2000s decade.

Now, Jackson – a Cedar Hill High School Class of 2011 Graduate – is glad to trade in some of that local fame for a career that he loves and the breezy, calm weather of Temecula, California – the city where he now resides located between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Jackson sells capital equipment to hospitals for Omnicell. He loves the flexibility and autonomy of the job. When it comes to sales, he loves the competition that he enjoyed for nearly 20 years as a scholar-athlete.

Jackson grew up in Cedar Hill and attended High Pointe Elementary, West Intermediate and Permenter Middle School.

At 29 years old, he’s old enough to remember the days before Cedar Hill had a Walmart and when Longhorn Athletics wasn’t synonymous with football success.

“Growing up in Cedar Hill was a cool experience, and I still have relationships with a lot of my friends whom I met in the first and second grade at High Pointe Elementary,” Jackson said. “Those were my friends, teammates and classmates. We shared a bond through football and sports.”

Jackson was at West Intermediate when Joey McGuire was promoted from position coach to head coach at Cedar Hill.

Jackson was an eighth grader at Permenter in the fall of 2006 when the Cedar Hill High School Football Team won its first State Football Championship.

“All of the players on that team were like rock stars to me,” Jackson said. “Coach McGuire would come watch me play at Permenter when I was in the eighth grade.”

Jackson went on to start at quarterback for the Longhorns from 2008-2010, leading Cedar Hill to a trio of district championships and a 32-7 record during that span.

“He is one of the most competitive guys I have ever coached,” said McGuire, who was hired as Texas Tech’s head football coach last month. “He was a coach’s dream (who believed in) ‘refuse to lose’.”

During his sophomore year, the Longhorns reached the Regional Championship, losing to eventual State Runner-Up, Wylie, 31-21.

“I haven’t loved or played for a coach as good as Coach McGuire since,” Jackson said. “He is a rare individual when it comes to motivating his players.”

Jackson also served on the Student Council and played basketball for the late, great David Milson. He finished just outside of the Top 10 percent of his class.

“I had a lot of great relationships with teachers and counselors in high school,” Jackson said.

When Jackson was about to graduate from high school, he helped mentor then-middle school star Avery Davis, who went on to a successful run as Longhorns quarterback and is currently a wide receiver at Notre Dame.

Jackson, who was an All-American in high school, chose Rice University in Houston.

“I wanted to go to a school that would result in a good job and something that would look good on a resume,” Jackson said. “I also wanted to stay close to home so my dad could watch me play.”

Jackson earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management at Rice and loved his academic experience there where classes were rigorous and class size was small.

Playing football for the Owls was a bit of a culture shock, as they often have smaller crowds than the ones Jackson would play before in high school. Rice is the second smallest school in Football Bowl Series (FBS), behind Tulsa.

The Owls play their home games in Rice Stadium – a large stadium that hosted a Super Bowl in the 1970s – but one that draws relatively small crowds to Owl home games.

“It was a huge shock, simply because we didn’t get the love and support like I did in high school,” Jackson said. “Nobody came to games whether we were winning or losing.”

Jackson’s Football Career

Jackson was part of one of the most successful time periods in Rice Football. He was part of Rice’s Conference USA Championship Team in 2013 – which was the program’s second conference title since 1957. Rice had never been to bowl games in three consecutive years, and they had only qualified for a total of nine bowl games between 1937-2008.

He competed in three bowl games – a homecoming to D-FW with a 33-14 win over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl in 2012, a 44-7 loss to Dak Prescott and Mississippi State in the 2013 Liberty Bowl and a 30-6 win over Fresno State in the 2014 Hawaii Bowl.

“Nobody expected me to play in the Armed Forces Bowl, but I ended up going in when the starter (Taylor McHargue) got hurt,” Jackson said. “A lot of my old coaches, teachers and friends were at the game.”

The Owls also visited Notre Dame, Army, Texas and Texas A&M during Jackson’s time with the program. They played their rival, University of Houston, at NRG Stadium – home of the Houston Texans.

Jackson, a loyal Dallas Cowboys fan, said he favors AT&T Stadium over the Texans’ stadium.

Jackson started his career in Pharmaceutical Sales before making the change to Medical Equipment and moving to California in October.