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HOUSTON, TX – Vanessa Hailey originally wanted her son, William Jackson III, to be a basketball player.  As he grew up though, it became clear football was more his passion. This week, the UH defensive back’s passion will truly pay off as he’s expected to be an early round pick in the NFL Draft.

“It was a long road, but I’m happy it’s finally here,” Hailey said. “He works hard, he deserves it. Whoever drafts him or whenever he gets drafted, it’s all a blessing.”

Vanessa raised Jackson in Houston’s Fifth Ward. Jackson has three sisters and one brother. His sister, Shaneshia, is happy her brother will fulfill a goal he’s had for a long time.

“I’m very proud of my brother,” Shaneshia said.  “This was always his dream. He always talked about it. I’m just so happy for him.”

Jackson graduated from Wheatley High School and he previously played football at Trinity Valley Community College before transferring to Houston.

The first round of the NFL Draft starts on Thursday at 7 PM.