Razorbacks Hope To Add Man In The Middle

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated, Dudley E. Dawson chats with Haynesville, La., head coach David Franklin about his star middle linebacker Kendrick Jackson (6-1, 240), who is taking an official visit to Arkansas this weekend. This story is free and courtesy of the NWA Chevy Dealers. Click the banner to learn more.

Arkansas will host a true middle linebacker this weekend that it hopes to add as a power punch to the finish of its 2015 recruiting class.

Haynesville’s Kendrick Jackson (6-1, 240) – who had a visit from Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema on Wednesday - had 118 tackles and 34 stops for lost yardage this season and also played quarterback while leading the Golden Tornado to a second straight Class 1A state title.

He is beloved by Haynesville head coach David Franklin for both his on-field play and his off-field character.

“When I think of Kendrick, I first think of a great leader, a great young man and a great football player,” Franklin said. “He is just a tremendous athlete for a guy his size. Not many middle linebackers are also your quarterback, but he’s just a special person and player.

“If that’s not impressive enough, he is also the shortstop on the baseball, plays basketball and is one of the state’s best shot putters,” Franklin added.

Jackson goes into this weekend officially committed to Arizona – where he visited Oct. 11 - but odds are that he stays closer to home.

“He is very excited about his visit to Arkansas and he has also been looking at a couple of local schools like Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette,” Franklin said. “But I know he is very excited about the opportunity that Arkansas presents.”

Per Franklin, Haynesville is a small town of just over 2,000 people that is located just three miles from the Arkansas border.

“Kendrick goes from football to basketball to baseball and then to track and is a star in every one of those sports,” noted Franklin, who has won three state titles after taking over for his dad Alton “Red” Franklin, who won 12.

Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith has been heading up the recruitment of Jackson, who had wanted to commit to the Razorbacks last spring but couldn’t because of head coach Bret Bielema’s policy of a prospect seeing campus first.

“Coach Smith has really been the one doing most of his recruiting and has been here a lot and really has Kendrick excited,” Franklin said. “I know that he thinks that Coach Smith is a great coach and can get the most out of him.”

Jackson , who has had 230 tackles and nearly 50 stops for last yardage the last two seasons, also has offers from Arizona, Louisville, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Georgia State, South Alabama, Arkansas State and Army.

“He really got offered from all the state schools except LSU,” Franklin said. “I think if he was taller than there would have been even more offers. But he is a great football player, no matter how tall he is. He's got his ACT now and he is good to go."

“He loves to hit and makes an impact when he gets to you,” Franklin added. “Again, I just can’t say enough about him.”

Jackson, who dedicated his season to his cancer-stricken grandfather, led a defense that downed Mangham 16-0 in the state championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Mangham had been averaging 48 points per game.

“He was just an absolute force for us in that game and has been the entire time has been here,” Franklin said.

Jackson has a basketball game Friday night and is slated to begin his official visits to Arkansas on Saturday.

Destrehan, La., safety Brandon Scott is scheduled to arrive on Friday to begin his visit.

Kendrick Jackson

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