Auburn Commitment Enjoys Opening Experience

Auburn commitment A.J. Jackson discusses The Opening, facing fellow Tigers' commitment Trey Johnson, and much more.

Lovejoy, Ga.—Already committed to the Auburn Tigers and secure in his decision, tight end A.J. Jackson traveled to Oregon last week to take part in The Opening along with 150 top players from around the country. Getting to meet NFL standouts, bond with future Auburn teammates, and compete against the best of the best, Jackson said the three days couldn't have been any better for him.

"It was a good experience," Jackson tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I saw a lot of things I've never seen before starting with the Nike headquarters. I met a lot of different coaches and a Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith. There were some NFL players there and everything. It was a good experience to work out with the coaches."

Playing on team "Super Bad" along with Alabama commitment Cooper Bateman at quarterback along with Auburn running back target Derrick Green in the backfield, Jackson said overall the chance to play with and against top players from across the country was one he'll never be able to replace.

"It was really fun, especially playing against the top players in the nation," Jackson said. "It made me feel like I was one of the top players too. It was really competitive."

A.J. Jackson

Rated a three-star prospect and the number 17 tight end in the country by Scout.com, Jackson said he wanted to go to The Opening to show that he belonged with the top players from anywhere.

"I just wanted to show all of my abilities playing against the linebackers," Jackson said. "I wanted to show them why I was ranked in the nation. I think I performed really well. I started out really nervous, but I got over that. I got used to my quarterback and we started connecting. I did good after that."

Coached by Browning Nagle on offense and Hardy Nickerson on defense, Jackson said getting to spend time with them was great, but one of the highlights was getting to learn more about his future teammates such as Trey Johnson.

"I really liked sitting down and talking with the NFL players and guys like Troy Smith," Jackson said. "We sat down and talked a lot. It was fun playing against some Auburn commitments too. That was really fun. It was just a big competition really against anybody that had committed somewhere else."

Although they are both from Georgia and committed to Auburn, Jackson said he didn't know much at all about Johnson until they got to Oregon. Having to face off against the linebacker time and time again in drills made him glad that they are going to be on the same side in the future.

"It was good," Jackson said. "I didn't know about Trey Johnson until last weekend. We got real cool over the weekend. We got each other's number and will stay in touch. We've got a nice bond now.

"He's a good linebacker," he added. "We played against each other the whole time. He's real good. He's really aggressive and has nice speed. I'm ready to see him playing for Auburn."

Planning to be back in Auburn this coming weekend to hang out for the second senior football camp on the Plains, Jackson said he's exciting about his upcoming season and about his very strong commitment to the Tigers , one that he hopes continues to get stronger from now until February.

"I'm settled on Auburn right now," Jackson said. "I'm just going to sit back and get ready for school and for my season. I'll be back in Auburn on July 13. They've got a camp and Coach Trooper (Taylor) and Coach (Jay) Boulware want me to come over and chill with the coaches and players.


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