The week leading up to National Signing Day is usually chock full of excitement and drama. This year figures to be no different with just nine days to go.
For Colorado State, the Rams are hoping to lure a longtime target away from his Pac-12 commitment. Warren Jackson, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound receiver from Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany, has been committed to Arizona since the summer before his senior year. While Jackson has maintained that pledge for seven months, Colorado State has continued to pursue the big receiver.
Jackson had already taken an official visit to Tucson, but being intrigued by the possibility of visiting Colorado State, he took a trip to Fort Collins for his second official visit of his recruitment.
According to Jackson, he was glad he did.
"It was a great vibe and a great atmosphere. The school was beautiful, the people were nice. It was just a great visit overall," Jackson said of his CSU visit. "I took it to compare the differences and see what they are offering compared to the other schools."
Rams cornerbacks coach Terry Fair's recruitment of Jackson dates back to Jackson's sophomore year at Alemany. The Rams were the first school to offer Jackson, back in May of 2015.
Fair, along with receivers coach Alvis Whitted and graduate assistant Doug Saylor, have relentlessly pursued Jackson even while he remained committed to Arizona.
"Me and Coach Fair have a very good relationship. He took a shot on me when I was very young and not fully developed. He saw what others didn't see at that moment, so me and him will always have a close relationship."
CSU freshman quarterback Collin Hill served as his player-host on his CSU visit. Jackson had studied the Rams' personnel and schemes prior to taking the trip, but his experience being around Hill and other CSU players truly opened his eyes.
"It was cool hanging out with him, just seeing how he was as a player and as a character off the field," Jackson said. "They did a good job of getting us that relationship within that little time we had together, just to see how it would be if I came there and we played together. So it was pretty cool.
"I felt like it was home. The community was really awesome. Everywhere we went, they honored us, asked us questions, recommended we come there. They made me feel like I was at home.
But it is the idea of playing with a young, talented corps of offensive playmakers that has really caught Jackson's attention.
"He's young, too, and he's a beast," Jackson said of Hill. "I mean, I'll have plenty of time with him if I were to go there. That was a huge, huge factor. And I also have a cousin that goes to UNC thirty minutes away.
"They said I could be that piece that helps them just tremendously, spread the field out. With the receiver they have now, Michael Gallup, he's a beast also. Hopefully I'll come in next year and if that's the plan, and we're on the same team, we'll be hard to stop. Plus the slots they have are really good, too."
Jackson has no plans to visit other schools leading up to signing day. What are the chances he flips from U of A to CSU?
"Well, I mean they (CSU) opened up my eyes, so we'll have to see," he said. "The quarterback situation, their pro-style offense, no-huddle, and the coaching staff. They teach hands-on. Coach Whitted might come out there and run routes with you. That was a huge eye-opener, just to see that he's involved. Coach Doug Saylor has been doing a great job of keeping me in the mix and making me feel like I was home when I was there."
The Rams, he said, simply need to continue what they are doing if they want to ensure he signs with the Green and Gold on February 1.
"Continue what they have been doing," Jackson said. "Coach Saylor, he's been tremendous with recruiting me and very tough. That was just a huge factor. He got me up there to take a visit, just to show me what they have to offer, and it was worth it. Everything they did was amazing: great facilities, great people, great staff, great coaching, great players. It's just a great environment overall."
The game plan moving forward is to continue to evaluate both schools, but hopefully make a final decision in the coming days.
"I'm talking to my family right now. I'm going to sleep on it and pray on it, and hopefully I'll have that decision by signing day. I'll most likely try to announce before then."
As a senior, Jackson earned first team all-league honors and his team's offensive MVP award after compiling 57 catches for 955 yards and 7 touchdowns.