By RayJaun Stelly, The Seattle Medium
After Spending three years playing football at O’Dea High School, Sejhe Jackson has put the Metro League on notice that he’s now a wide receiver for the Garfield Bulldogs. Jackson’s last game as a Fighting Irish ended with a loss in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs a year ago. Understanding that he’d only have one year left to get on the radar of colleges across the country, Jackson made the decision to transfer to Garfield.
A part of the freshman football tradition at O’Dea, Jackson would play on the freshman team even with his slim frame and standing 6’0 at the time. Learning and understanding how high school football is played, Jackson would catch on quick and as a sophomore found himself on varsity playing under Head coach Monte Kohler, who expects nothing but to hoist trophies. His first year as a varsity player was during the COVID stricken 2020-21 season with no state tournament, which limited the exposure of up-and-coming football prospects.
Playing strong safety and free safety that year, the Fighting Irish went 5-2 and beat Seattle Prep 49-7 in the Metro League championship game. Although it wasn’t a state title, in just one year Jackson was now part of the winning culture of O’Dea and could add being a Metro League Champion to his list of personal accomplishments.
Returning for his junior season, Jackson played wide receiver in an O’Dea program that was known for its rushing attack. When the ball was thrown in his direction, Jackson made the most of his opportunities. But in a run heavy offense that has been the staple of many championships for Fighting Irish the opportunity for Jackson to touch the ball were limited, and from Jackson’s perspective so were his scholarship opportunities.
“I spent 3 years of high school football in a running offense not knowing if I would be able to pursue my dreams and go to college for free one day,” said Jackson of his decision to attend Garfield.
O’Dea finished the season with an 8-3 record and qualified for the state championship tournament. The Fighting Irish would win their first two postseason games by 40 and 39 points, respectively, which advanced them to the quarterfinals before losing in the elite eight to Kennewick.
After reaching the postseason during his first two years on varsity, Jackson not only inherited the work ethic, mannerisms, and willingness it takes if you want win, but he also earned honorable mentions on the All-Metro League teams. All things that he took with him to Garfield.
Now a part of the Bulldog culture, Jackson looks to add another trophy to the family legacy set forth by his older brother Tramaine Isabell, who transferred to Garfield his senior year, and was named the Most Valuable Player of the state basketball tournament as he led Garfield to a boys 4A basketball state title in 2014. Now things have come full circle and Jackson can contribute to the Bulldogs’ team goal of winning a state championship, like his brother did eight years ago.
“Being from the neighborhood, Garfield was always the school we figured we’d attend, but when the time came we originally took different routes,” said Isabell. “I don’t put pressure on him but I hope he gets to experience bringing a championship to the Dog House.”
As it relates to the prospect of playing football at the next level, Isabell says that he tells Jackson to concentrate on helping his team win and the rest will take care of itself.
“I tell him to stay focused and to stay locked in on being the best he can be,” says Isabell. “The wins and stats will take care of themselves if the intention is right. I want him to enjoy the feeling of playing well, helping his team win and wanting more of it.”
For Jackson, taking the field this year and wearing number 13 in purple and white has been fun. The first game of his senior season would be against Lake Stevens, who came into the matchup as the #1-ranked 4A team in the state. Jackson would make an immediate impact, catching a spectacular 30-yard touchdown pass from Garfield quarterback E.J Caminong. On the play, Jackson left one Viking defender on the ground and two behind him, as he finished the game with three receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown in his Bulldog debut.
Garfield High School Head Football Coach Reggie Witherspoon has nothing but high praises for Jackson.
“He is coachable and selfless,” says Witherspoon. “He makes our offense better with his big play making ability and reliable hands. With great route running, amazing run blocking, and his ability to finish runs after the catch is what separates him from a lot of wideouts in our conference.”
Along with his impressive individual performance, Garfield won 26-16 against Lake Stevens then followed that up with a 56-3 win against Roosevelt. Heading into week three of the current season, the 6’2” wide receiver earned his first Division I scholarship from Eastern Washington University.
Not letting the news of the offer distract him, Jackson would put on a phenomenal performance against Seattle Prep at Lumen Field. In a 48-7 win, he finished the game with 5 receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
“Receiving the first offer, released a lot of stress off my back,” says Jackson. “The concern of not going to college for free was now cured.”
Now in just three games as a Bulldogs, he’s undefeated with 9 receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns on the season thus far. From barely getting the ball thrown in his direction to being a primary target in an up-tempo offense, Jackson looks to continue his impressive play with the goal of winning a title.
“I still have a lot to prove, the job isn’t done,” said Jackson.
“If I win a state title that would be dream come true, I told myself before I entered high school that I’m leaving high school with a state championship ring,” he added. “My team and I are going to make that happen.”