Decisions, Decisions

A.J. Jackson out of Lovejoy, Ga., suffered a crushing defeat Saturday in Georgia's state championship game. Now he is focused on his recruitment, with two schools out front.

 

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"We got beat in the state championship game to Norcross 24-21," Scout.com's No. 18 rated tight end said. "It was the toughest loss I've ever gone through in any sport. I haven't been right since to be honest. I can't get it out of my mind."

Jackson finished the season with 27 catches for 367 yards and 10 TDs.

"I think I improved on a little bit of everything. My footwork, blocking, locking up with my man and the jump ball. I'm a much better player now than I was before I started my senior season. I can't complain about a thing."

The 6' 6", 240-pound tight end had a college coach in the stands to watch him play.

"Coach (Maurice) Harris sat with my mother. They've been building a good relationship."

Jackson has seen Harris, who coaches tight end at Ole Miss, around a lot lately.

"I told everybody that I was getting ready for the state championship game this past week so I told them to come see me after the Christmas break. The last coach who came by my house was Coach Harris. He came by last week and just visited with my mother and the rest of my family. I was actually at my school watching film with my coach when he came by."

Jackson has two schools out front.

"Ole Miss and FSU are still my top schools."

What stands out about the Rebels?

"I just like Ole Miss' program. It's a good environment over there. I love their coaches, and they have a good class coming in. It's close to home too. I just like Ole Miss a lot. They're definitely coming after me the hardest right now. Coach Harris comes around all of the time. He even came to my state championship game. (Ole Miss head) Coach (Hugh) Freeze calls all the time. Their running back coach (Derrick Nix) calls all the time. I've even started to build a relationship with one of their tight end commits, Christian Morgan. He was committed to FSU at one point so he's been telling me everything about both schools. They're just showing me the most interest right now. That goes a long way with me."

And FSU?

"Florida State, well, I haven't been speaking to them as much lately because I've been getting ready for the state championship game but we still talk some. I like them because of their winning program, and they use their tight end a lot. They don't have a big tight end right now that's a good fit for their program so there's a need for me there. You can get a good degree from FSU too, and it's right around the corner from home. I also like their coaches, especially coach (Odell) Haggins."

Who needs Jackson the most, and which school uses its tight end the most?

"It's really a tie. Ole Miss is losing their tight ends but so is FSU. I think FSU is using their tight ends a little more, but I don't think Ole Miss has had the type of tight end they're looking for. It's really a tie on those two issues."

Jackson has long been committed to Auburn but things look to be a questionable at the moment.

"It's tough. I haven't heard from them since they got their new coaches. There are a lot of things going on with them now. It's a mess. They have called but we haven't made contact yet. It has been really frustrating to go through all of this. I committed to a school that I was really happy to play for and then they go get some new coaches. Now I have to start all over, but the process will be much faster now. I have to find a new school in the next month or so."

Any other schools trying to get in the picture?

"Pittsburgh just started calling. They're going to come see me when I get back from the Marine National All-Star game."


Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at yporter@scout.com

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