Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 8, 2023

Rookies with Nashville-area ties make initial 53-man squad

As the Titans broke camp with 11 rookies on their 53-man roster, it was especially exciting for two members of the group.

Seventh-round pick Colton Dowell has become familiar to Titans fans in a short time, as the former Wilson Central and UT-Martin standout wide receiver grew up in Lebanon with his whole family being Titans fans.

But another Titans rookie, safety Matt Jackson of Hillsboro High in Nashville, experienced a similar situation, growing up locally in Nashville with his whole family being longtime Titans fans too.

Both are plenty excited to not only make it in the NFL as a rookie, but to make it while playing for their hometown team. Needless to say, their families are quite proud.

“They were super excited. My dad has been a Titans fan for a very long time. He didn’t cry, but he was extremely proud of me,” the 6-foot-3, 212-pound Dowell says of his father, Chris, who is the former fire chief in Lebanon.

Jackson, who got a call from Ran Carthon to report to the facility on cutdown day, got a pleasant surprise. The in-person meeting was not to cut him, but to tell the former Eastern Kentucky safety that he would be on the 53-man roster to begin the season.

“It was the first time I’ve ever been called into the office, so I was a little nervous, but he (Carthon) relieved my tension by telling me I had made it,” Jackson says.

Jackson said his next call was to his parents, who were in tears when they heard the good news.

“My dad cried. My mom cried,” says Jackson, who then shared the good news with his brothers and his 2-year-old daughter.

Now that they have made it, the challenge for both becomes staying on the roster — something low round picks and undrafted free agents always have to be cognizant of. The message is not lost on the duo, who actually trained together for the draft and were both invitees to the Titans’ local visit day leading up to the draft.

“They told me to keep my intensity and my physicality that I brought on special teams and to keep bringing energy and keep going and continue to learn from the veterans,” the 6-1, 209-pound Jackson says.