Coach On AU Commit: "He Will Be A Great One"

Lovejoy Coach Al Hughes talks about Auburn's newest commitment, his tight end A.J. Jackson.

Lovejoy, Ga.—Big Cat Weekend has already paid dividends for the Auburn Tigers as they picked up a commitment from 6-6, 245-pound tight end A.J. Jackson from Lovejoy High.

Choosing the Tigers over Arkansas, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina State, Virginia and several other schools, Jackson is a prospect who Lovejoy Coach Al Hughes says will give the Auburn coaches plenty of flexibility down the line on offense.

"He's a great football player and a fine young man," Hughes tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "There are a lot of skills that he brings to the table. He's not a big guy who is being made into a tight end, he's a big athlete who just happens to play tight end.

"He's a receiver," Hughes adds. "You can split him out into the slot and cause mismatches with linebackers and strong safeties. You can also put him outside as a wide receiver and let those 5-9 corners see what they think about jumping up with a 6-6 guy who has a big body."

A starter since his freshman season for the Wildcats, Jackson has been a part of an offense designed to spread the field and put playmakers in space. Running the offense for nearly 20 years after learning it from Hal Mumme when he was at Valdosta State, Hughes notes Jackson gives his team a different look in the offense.

"We went down there and put in that offense," Hughes says. "It had a little bit of tight end stuff, but we were four and five wide for a long time. All of the sudden we got A.J. and we realized there was another dimension to this thing we needed to try to employ.

"We're still learning what all we can do with A.J. It's just a shame he's a senior already. It doesn't seem like any time that he was here with us as a freshman. He's started and played every game since he's been here."

Nominated for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Jackson played in the East-West All-Star game in Georgia last fall (Rising Junior Bowl) and was one of the top players in attendance. Also a basketball standout, Hughes notes that Jackson will be a player to keep an eye on when he turns his attention to one sport down the road.

"His best football is still ahead of him," Hughes notes. "He's just now getting out of AAU basketball and basketball in general. He told me the other day that he wasn't going to play basketball this year and that he was going to concentrate fully on football. I did about eight flips. He will be a great one."


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