Montgomery, Ala.--Losing Montravius Adams, Devaroe Lawrence, Maurice Swain and likely Carl Lawson off the defensive line this year, the Auburn Tigers are looking to replenish the depth for Coach Rodney Garner in the 2017 class.
One of the players the Tigers are targeting is athletic big man Alec Jackson from Jeff Davis High.
Down to a top four of Auburn, Florida, Ole Miss and USC, the 6-4, 255 Jackson said he is excited about all four of his teams and has found plenty of positives about each as he prepares to make a signing day decision.
“I just didn’t let the recruiting game overwhelm me,” Jackson said. “A lot of players still have like 17 schools right now trying to figure out what schools they’ll take officials to. That’s why I tried to go ahead and tried to narrow my list down now.”
Growing up a fan of Auburn and being from nearby Montgomery, Jackson said playing for the Tigers is everything he’s always wanted to do and that’s important to him as he looks at the program as part of his group.
“I like everything,” he said of Auburn. “The defense, no question they have the best defensive line in the country behind Alabama and N.C. State has a great defensive line, too. Just knowing they have a great defensive line and that the coaches want me, it’s great just to know that I showed enough talent for him (Rodney Garner) to notice me and to be able to play for him.
“It’s very important to have the opportunity to play for your favorite team,” Jackson added of the Tigers. “Everybody that went to a different college had a favorite team. I’m still going to have that in consideration, I have a chance to play for Auburn.”
With Garner and Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele visiting him on Saturday, Jackson said they had a strong message for him when sitting down in his home.
“They really sat down with my mom and explained to her about the scholarship and what all they pay for,” he said. “They talked about my major, I’m trying to major in engineering. They broke that down, too. They really explained most everything when they came.”
Jackson played for Jeff Davis High School.
Playing for the SEC Championship in Atlanta last Saturday, Florida has been known for its defense and it’s something that stands out to Jackson. He said getting to Gainesville for his official visit is going to be big for him.
“The Gators, all around they’re just a great team,” Jackson said. “They just played Alabama in the championship. I can’t wait to go down there on my official and meet all of the coaches and players. It’s going to be a great experience for me.”
A program that has done a good job on the recruiting trail the last few seasons under Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss has impressed Jackson and he said the Rebels give him the opportunity for early playing time and he likes the potential for the team down the road.
“They’ve always had a great D-Line even with all of the injuries,” Jackson said. “On the offensive side of the ball they had to start a freshman at quarterback. They just had a lot of injuries and bad luck last year. Next year they should be good, should be fine.”
Having already visited USC, the Montgomery standout said he enjoyed his extended visit to see the Trojans and likes what he sees from the program under Coach Clay Helton.
“When I went down there I really clicked with the players, the coaches and the people around the team,” Jackson said. “I really had fun and they showed me a great time at the game. The fans were all into the game even though it was raining. After the game they fed us good. I really had a great time.”
This week the recruiting takes a backseat with Jackson taking part in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic at Cramton Bowl. Kickoff is set for noon CST on Saturday.
Carrying on a proud tradition of playing in the game, Jackson said he’s excited about having his chance to suit up for his state.
“Mack Wilson played in it last year and now I have the opportunity to play in it,” he said. “It just feels good to have Montgomery natives playing in the game. It’s just a great feeling for me.”
Planning to announce his college choice on signing day, Jackson has visits set up for Auburn on Jan. 13, Florida on Jan. 20 and Ole Miss on Jan. 27.