Bama offer ‘meant everything'

Petal (Miss.) has several standout athletes on its roster, but only one class of 2014 member of the team can now say he holds an offer from the University of Alabama after visiting the campus on Saturday.

"It's an honor, it meant everything to me," said Jesse Jackson on Saturday after returning home from Alabama. "At first, it was a real big shocker. We were mainly talking about how I fit into the program and some of the things he saw on film that he likes.

"It was a great day, a great experience."

The 6-foot-1, 202-pound two-way standout is as physical as it gets on the outside as both a wideout and a cornerback. So the offer from the national champs stands in general and not at any position in particular.

"I talked to the wide receiver coach (Billy Napier) and he wants me at wide receiver," Jackson admitted. "I also talked to the DB coach (Greg Brown), and he said he'd love me to play both ways but it's the SEC. I could always switch over, but they like how I'm really physical.

"I'm familiar with all positions in the game and I'll play anywhere."

Though willing, the junior has a preference as to which side of the ball he ends up on.

"My main position is wide receiver," he said. "I like to score, you know? I like to go get the ball; it's just what I like to do."

No matter the eventual position, Jackson is intrigued by the Alabama offer and it immediately vaults the Crimson Tide to the top of his list along with the home-state favorite.

"At first, I was big on (Mississippi) State, but now it's mixed up a little bit," he admitted. "I'd say Alabama and State are my top picks right now. Alabama has great facilities and State is rebuilding and things like that.

"I have to think about what I'm going to do after school and whether or not I'm going to play as a freshman. I'd love to do that, so I want to see where I stand before choosing a place to play."

So what may get a player like Jackson on the field early at either school?

"I think I can bring blocking to the table," he said of his own strengths. "That's the first element I started out with. We have this motto at my school, ‘you don't block…you don't play.' Plus,the ability to go get the ball.

"My last time in the 40 is a 4.43 (seconds), so I'm looking to get that lower and up my size. I'm at 202, and I want to get to 210-212 before the season ends."

Whether it's Alabama, Mississippi State or elsewhere, Jackson has his mind made up on the nation's top conference. He predicts that he'll play SEC ball.

"It tests you more, it challenges you," he said of the conference. "The type of game-plans I'll see every week is similar to what the next level is about."

Both the Tide and Bulldogs have also offered Jackson's Petal High teammate and cousin Jovan Patterson. Each learned the ‘Bama news on Saturday while visiting Tuscaloosa together.

"It's just a blessing. It's a great opportunity, Jovan is a hard-worker and really young," said the junior of the sophomore. "We kind of talk to each other about it. If we decide on where we want to go, Alabama would be a great place for us to go.

"It'll be a great start, hopefully we'd be roommates or something. It's always good to go to school with someone you know."

Jackson, who plans on checking out Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss in the near future, is looking into majoring in automotive engineering at his school of choice.

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