MIAMI — Without a lot of perseverance, Wednesday might not have happened for Miami senior Jackson Satterwhite.
The 6-5, 285-pound Satterwhite, who battled back from major back problems to become the top offensive lineman in District 4A-3 with the Wardogs, signed national letter of intent with the University of Kansas Wednesday, Feb. 5.
“A lot of it was people telling me not to do it, that it was not a good thing,” said Satterwhite, who had surgery to repair a blown disc in his lower back. It sidelined him for his entire junior season.
“A lot of people were telling me I couldn't do it, that I shouldn't do it or whatever. That didn’t really bother me,” he said. “It was the drive.”
In what was supposed to be an 18-month recovery process, he was back six months early.
“I was back in time to do some camping over the summer at different schools, talked to some coaches and then made it back for my senior year.”
Satterwhite said rehabbing the back made him work harder.
“I am going to have to work harder than almost everybody else for the rest of my life physically to maintain shape and stay healthy with my back.”
“To come back and be able to play on this level is something everybody has dreamed of,” said Miami head coach Zach Gardner. “There are very few that can come back from something like this. There’s very few. I would say, just guessing, there’s less than 15% of the people come back from a back injury of this sort and to ever be able to play the game again.”
Gardner pointed out that Satterwhite was always on the sidelines during that junior season, cheering on his teammates.
“When he came back, we kinda babied him back into the situation we needed him, knowing what he brought to the table for us,” Gardner said. “Even though the expectations to have a lot of success weren’t there, he just made us that much better when we were suiting him up.”
Satterwhite, who has played basketball and baseball at MHS, was rated a three-star prospect by Rivals — which had him listed as the 18th best player in Oklahoma — and 247Sports, which had him 25th.
His father, Stacey, was part of Welch’s 1987 state championship team then played at Oklahoma State, where he was a member of a 10-2 1988 Holiday Bowl team that featured Barry Sanders — as well as the NFL’s Denver Broncos.
“Since I was little, I always wanted to be like dad,” Jackson said. “I’ve been lucky to have a guy like him in my life. He’s been there and done it, so he knows what it takes. He’s been able to talk me through some things and help me out with some things.
“I’ve been blessed to have him in my life.”
The younger Satterwhite started testing the recruitment waters about Week 4 of the 2019 season.
“I had a bunch of contacts, but most of the schools were full since I was late to the game,” he said.
He held off on the December early signing period.
“Luckily, a couple of days after I announced I wouldn’t sign until the February signing period, Coach Meadows (offensive line coach Luke Meadows) from Kansas reached out to me and said he was very interested and that they had some (roster) spots,” Satterwhite said. “We stayed in contact for a while. I got to meet the offensive coordinator (Brent Dearmon) and talked more with him.
“He was a really genuine, very real type of guy with me. That’s what I was looking for. I want guys who will be real with me throughout my whole career.”
Having a chance to visit with head coach Les Miles, who was head coach at Oklahoma State from 2001-2004 and guided LSU to a BCS national championship2007, sealed the deal for Satterwhite.
“To be able to play for a hall of fame football coach is pretty awesome,” Satterwhite said. “I didn’t know anything about KU until they hit me up. I started doing some research on the school and I am looking to go into business. I looked up business schools and the (KU) business school is ranked nationally.”
He is among 30 incoming players.
The Jayhawks also signed 19 during the December early signing period.