In a story that rightfully didn't get much national publicity, Jackson, an undrafted free agent in 2012, was cut by the New York Giants on Sunday. He might never play in an NFL game. He might not even get a chance to make it to the final round of NFL cuts if he's not picked up soon.
Jackson had a chance to take a much different path. He was a consensus five-star prospect coming out of Lake Charles, La., in 2009 when he signed with Tennessee. He started 21 games in two years with the Vols, earning second-team All-SEC honors in 2010 after he piled up 69 tackles, 11 pass deflections and intercepted five passes for 114 return yards.
He was one of the most promising young defenders in the SEC. He was becoming known for his big hits and his knack for big plays. He also had a propensity to dance around the rules, and was temporarily suspended from the program in the spring of 2011, only to be reinstated in the fall.
Then, he ran out of chances. Coach Derek Dooley removed him from the team permanently for an undisclosed violation of team rules on Aug. 24, 2011, just days before the season started.
Jackson rushed to enroll at McNeese State in 2011, where he put up underwhelming stats and declared for the NFL Draft with a year of eligibility remaining. He wasn't drafted. Now, he's been cut. His NFL odds dwindle daily.
He was a talented DB from Louisiana who ran out of chances right before his junior season of college.
Mathieu can learn a thing or two from Jackson. He has even more to lose than Jackson. Jackson's ceiling might have been a middle-round draft pick, Mathieu has first-round talent and a potentially bright NFL future if he can get his life and career headed in the right direction.
The reports are varied on what Mathieu will do next. He might not play in 2012 and then declare for the 2013 NFL Draft, he might transfer to an FCS school and play in 2012 or perhaps he might transfer to a junior college and play major college football again in 2013.
He should give a long consideration to the last option. He could take a year, straighten his life and then remake himself in 2013, all the while proving to the NFL that he has matured.
It might be his best chance to fulfill his football potential.
That's a path that Jackson now, perhaps, wishes he had taken.
For more up-to-the minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Larry Hartstein and Daniel Lewis, follow @CBSSportsSEC.