It’s not common for brothers to make it onto a Division I roster, but it is even more rare for brothers to play not only at the same school but in different sports. Jackson and JC Shirer have accomplished that rare feat as Jackson plays football for Liberty and his brother JC plays on the basketball team.
The brothers come from a famous Christian family. Their grandfather is Tony Evans, an Christian pastor, speaker, and author. Their uncle is Anthony Evans, a Christian singer and songwriter. Their mom is Priscilla Shirer, an author, speaker, and actress. Another one of their uncles, Jonathan Evans, played football at Baylor and then played with several teams in the NFL including the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and Tennessee Titans as a fullback.
Jackson is currently a redshirt-freshman on the football team under Hugh Freeze while JC is a true freshman on the men’s basketball team under Ritchie McKay.
Early in his high school career, Jackson was recruited by several in-state programs in Texas like Baylor and Texas. He was also highly recruited by Tulsa. Later in his high school career, Jackson suffered a knee injury that required surgery and put his recruitment on pause. As he began to doubt if he would get the opportunity to play football in his college, his family gathered around and prayed.
“God, if you want me to keep playing football, give me a sign,” Jackson recalled of the prayer that evening.
“I remember waking up the next morning with four missed calls from one of the coaches (at Liberty). My dad called me, that’s what woke me up. He said, ‘Son, what are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m sorry, I just woke up.’ He said, ‘Coach Freeze is trying to call you, call him back.'”
When Jackson called Freeze back, the Liberty head coach offered him a spot on the team. Jackson committed on the spot.
“It was a God moment at that point,” he said. “I feel like this is where God is calling me to be at the moment.”
For JC, he met some of the Liberty coaching staff during his high school career while competing in a tournament in Austin, Texas. Later, he went to a basketball camp at Liberty and was then invited back for a visit.
“On that trip, he offered me a spot on the team,” JC said of Coach McKay. “I committed immediately just like Jackson. Now that I’m here and he’s here too, I couldn’t have made a better decision.”
Both JC and Jackson speak very highly of their experience at Liberty and the coaching staff they have leading them.
“I think Coach McKay is one of the wisest men that I’ve ever been around,” said JC. “I say that with my whole heart. The advice that he says and the call to action that he is able to give, the attention he is able to attract for us players and for us to buy in is incredible. It’s something like I’ve never seen before. The first time I ever talked to him in person, it made me not only want to come (to Liberty) for basketball but also because I know I can grow as a person. I know that he will never sell me short of anything I can accomplish. As a man, that’s one of the best gifts you can ever give somebody.”
Jackson had similar words for Coach Freeze.
“Coach Freeze has inspired us to not (only) play good on the football team, but do good off the field as well,” he stated. “To chase a standard every day, to be a man of God, to be the best man we can be on and off the field.”
“It’s been amazing,” said Jackson of his time at Liberty so far. “I love the community. I’ve never been in a community like this one before. It’s something different about this place. I know everybody says that, but there really is something different about the Mountain, about Liberty. You will never find anything like this anywhere else.”
Check out the full and complete video interview with JC and Jackson below where they also go into detail about growing up with a famous family and what’s on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner.