Recruiting Update: Poly QB turning heads

Arizona has never shied away from quarterbacks who didn't have the prototypical size. Keith Smith set records, despite being shy of six-feet tall. This season Nic Costa enters the season as the back up and he is listed as 5-11. The Wildcats are looking at another talented quarterback who isn't as tall as many of the scouts like.

Long Beach-Poly quarterback Leon Jackson is taller than the aforementioned Wildcat signal callers, but he doesn't tower like many of the other top ranked quarterbacks. He's just a hair above six-foot, but Jackson is impressive.

Jackson has attended both the Los Angeles and Northern California combines and was among the top quarterbacks at each camp. Not bad for a player who has yet to be a starter. Coming from a program as stocked with talent as Poly, it is not uncommon to see D-I prospects on the second string.

Jackson was impressive at the Nike Camps and will be one of the more soughtafter quarterbacks on the West Coast. He showcased good arm strength and a nice touch on the ball. While many of the prospects were trying hard to show-off the long ball, Jackson was just as happy to throw precise timing routes and great quick hitters.

"They invite the best kids to make a name for yourself if you don't already have one," Jackson said of the camps. "If you already have one, then you can make your name even bigger.

There has been a pipeline from Poly to USC, and Jackson admits that USC is a favorite but it is way too early to count people out.

"USC was a dream school growing up," said Jackson. "Kansas and Washington State have offered me. I'm looking at a lot of schools. I haven't put my finger on any of them."

Arizona is in the hunt because the Wildcat coaches have made a great impression on Jackson. They first took notice of him when he was at Beverly Hills High School. The staff did not lose track of him after he transferred to Long Beach-Poly.

"I talked to the coach my sophomore year. He saw me throwing on the sideline and said that he liked me," Jackson said. "Then when I went to Poly he hand wrote me a letter, because I wasn't there when he stopped by. He said he looked all over the area for me. They made me feel really comfortable. Arizona football is a really nice place to go. I want to see the campus and see how it is. They have written me a few letters and I've talked to some coaches. I really liked the coaches."

Jackson is a player who seems coachable. He looked intent when receiving instructions from coaches at the clinics.

"You get good coaching," Jackson said of the summer camps. "You get coaches that go around the nation and coach other kids. Coaches that coached NFL guys. It is always good to get good coaching. You get good competition and good work."

Jackson should propel himself into the national spotlight by playing for Poly. As one of the nation's top prep programs, Jackson will receive attention. He has the skills to go along with the hype. At Nike he showed the skills in the tests. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds. He showed off a 30.7" vertical leap. He even put up 15 reps on the 185-pound bench press.

His frame may be on the small side (6-0.5, 176) but his arm sure isn't. This quick, athletic quarterback could be the answer to some Pac-10 team's quarterback questions.


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