Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany wide receiver Warren Jackson was a coveted target by Power Five schools throughout his recruitment, but decided late in the process to flip to Colorado State. The 3-star details his recruitment further with Inside The Rams in another Get To Know the 2017 Class feature.
Warren Jackson: "I was a sophomore and I was doing 7-on-7 at Serra High School in Gardena (Calif.), and there was a ton of coaches there. It was pretty much every school I've ever saw. It was a ton of coaches... Mountain West, Pac-12, SEC, just a lot of coaches. Coach (Terry) Fair from Colorado State was there. I was doing really well against Narbonne High School, and they just came off a championship, I think. So I was doing really well against them. I was pretty much the only person standing out on my team. They kept throwing me the ball and I was catching it and got up field, and Coach Fair took notice of that. He came by school the next day, got my info down. I got a call that Monday and they offered me early that morning. Ever since then, we've maintained that relationship throughout my high school career. Here we are now."
ITR: So did CSU stay in strong contact with you that entire time throughout your recruitment, even when you were committed to Arizona for those six or so months?
Jackson: "Yes, sir, they did."
ITR: Was Coach Fair your primary recruiter throughout your whole recruitment?
Jackson: "Yes he was."
ITR: What was it about Coach Fair that stuck out to you, especially with so many other coaches stopping by school and calling you?
Jackson: "He was a cool dude. He kept it real and was very honest. He took a shot on me when no one really did at that time. He saw things that other coaches didn't see at that moment, so he's a real cool coach. We still have a close relationship. He's a great recruiter. He does everything right for his guys. When I went up there on my visit, they all told me he was a great coach, he's a very technically sound, just a great dude and great man on and off the field."
ITR: With Coach (Alvis) Whitted going to be your positional coach, what's your relationship like with him and what do you like about him the most?
Jackson: "We have a very strong relationship. He's kind of like me. We like to joke around, but when it comes time to be serious, we can switch it on. He's also a great coach, on and off the field. Everybody tells me he's a great man. He just had a daughter and he has a great family. He's really good on the field and he played receiver for, I think, 8 years in the NFL. He ran track. He's just a great role model and person to be around, and that's something I look forward to."
ITR: You committed within a few days of taking your official visit to CSU in January. What was it about that visit that really persuaded you to switch up your pledge from Arizona to CSU?
Jackson: "Going into it, I thought it was going to be a lot different than it was. It was a great town, very family-oriented, everybody loved each other. It was a great vibe I got hanging out with the players and coaches. Coach (Mike) Bobo invited us to his house. It was just a great atmosphere in general. It's a great town, great school and great people. I can't wait to get up there and play."
ITR: You toured the new stadium when you were up there. Did the fact you'd get to play in it as part of the first recruiting class to open it up factor into your decision at all?
Jackson: "It helped a little bit, but I think without it, I still would have ended up going there. It helped also, just showing that they're really taking notice and everybody's chipping in to help us develop to get us to where we need to be so we can perform on the field. That was just a huge eye-opener."
ITR: Was there anything throughout your recruitment that was crazy, or any unique, or funny stories that stuck out to you?
Jackson: "There was a point for about two or three weeks when a group of us kept getting called out of class to come see coaches. It was fun and it felt good to be wanted and showed off. We were all getting called out of class, like, every day, sometimes twice or three times a day. That was kind of funny, then you come home to a blown up mailbox. You get a lot of mail... it makes you feel really good and it makes you want to work harder. It just shows what you get from the fruits of your labor."
ITR: Can you list all the offers you picked up throughout your recruiting process?
Jackson: "I had Colorado, Colorado State, Arizona, Washington State, Oregon State, Wyoming, UTEP, San Jose (State), UMass, Iowa State, Fresno State, New Mexico, and I think that's it. Oh, and Hawai'i."
ITR: As far as official visits, did you just take the two to Arizona and Colorado State?
Jackson: "Yeah, those two."
ITR: I'd imagine your recruitment was pretty stressful leading up to signing day, then you essentially flipped your commitment. Was there any added drama or stress once you eventually committed to CSU? Were there any schools trying to flip you from CSU, or even U of A trying to keep you?
Jackson: "Yeah. Arizona was kind of tough when I told them. I was on the phone for about an hour about it. When I originally committed, I didn't post it yet, but Nebraska wanted me to take a visit later after I did. I'm pretty sure they would have offered. It was kind of tough not knowing where I was going to go at that moment, because all these schools were coming in so hard and late. Washington State came in hard at one point. I was thinking about going there, but I waited it out. They came hard at one point, so it was a lot of stress for me and my family, but they helped me get through it and stick it out."
ITR: Did Washington State and Nebraska come on strong after you committed to CSU, or before?
Jackson: "Washington State came before I actually committed. They came as I was committed to Arizona. It was pretty much that same time period of me de-committing and me taking a visit. They were coming really hard. Nebraska came, I think, a day after I told the coaches I was committing to CSU. They wanted me to take a visit, but I didn't want to take it, just to save the drama and have second thoughts about it."
ITR: What was your favorite part of the recruiting process?
Jackson: "My favorite part was probably when I'd come home from a spring practice. Those were the best parts - spring training, come home and get a call from a coach, get offered a scholarship. That was probably my favorite part about it."
ITR: What was your least favorite part of the recruiting process?
Jackson: "Probably toward the end, like toward signing day, because that's when coaches really come hard and they're stressing you out. That's probably my least favorite part about it."
ITR: Do you remember your height and weight on your CSU visit?
Jackson: "I was 6-5, 208, I think I was."
ITR: Do you know your most recent bench max, squat max and 40 time?
Jackson: "I don't, I'm sorry."
ITR: Do you remember all your senior year awards and honors off the top of your head?
Jackson: "I was all-league - first team all-league, got invited to a couple little bowl games - just local ones, It think I was on the 3.0 all-around academic. I was 3.0 year-round."
ITR: Do you remember your senior year stats?
Jackson: "I had 950 yards, 50 or 60 catches, 7 touchdowns."
ITR: What's your favorite high school football memory and why?
Jackson: "Me transferring over (from Redondo Union). It was kind of a weird transition, because I didn't really know that many people. I was the new kid coming in and I had to establish my dominance right away. So that was probably my favorite, just transitioning, getting a new vibe, new coaching staff, new friends. I mean I made a lot of friends I'll probably be friend with forever. So me transitioning over and getting acclimated to my new school was probably my favorite high school memory."
ITR: Who is your favorite NFL player and/or athlete, and why?
Jackson: "Julio Jones. He's very explosive, he's a bigger receiver, he's fast, strong, great hands, great footwork. I just like how he carries himself on the field. He's very tough mentally and physically. That's probably my favorite NFL player."
ITR: Is there a player out there, either at the college level or pro level that you'd compare your own game to, and why?
Jackson: "Probably Julio. We're both bigger receivers, physical, go and get the ball. We run good routes for our size."
ITR: What are some of your hobbies outside of football?
Jackson: "I like golfing. I just took up golfing. I'm not that good, but I like it. It's fun. I'll probably go this weekend to golf."
ITR: Do you play any other sports?
Jackson: "I'm running track right now."
ITR: What events do you do and what are your best times?
Jackson: "The 400 and 200. In the 4, I went 53.5. In the 2, today I went 23.2."
ITR: Warren, what is your favorite pair of shoes and why?
Jackson: "That's a hard one. I'll have to go with the Air Max shoes. You can wear them with anything - a lot of different colors. I like those a lot."
ITR: What's something about you that most people may not know?
Jackson: "I'm actually very entertaining, to some extent. I like to make people laugh and have a good time, on and off the field. I feel like life, you should just laugh a lot. Live it and just love. I try not to take things too serious. I just let it go and I like to laugh and just have a good time."
ITR: What's your dream job and why?
Jackson: "Dream job is to play in the NFL. That's something I've been thinking about since I was very young, since I picked up a football. That's very emotional for me, because I love this game and to do it as a job and go out and please millions of fans, it's amazing to me, because you're doing something you love. I wouldn't really call it a job; I'd call it a very fun opportunity for me, just to go out and do what I love the rest of my life, until I can't play anymore, unfortunately."
ITR: So what would your dream job be once you retire, or if you had another dream job outside of the NFL?
Jackson: "A veterinarian. I love animals. Love animals. So something in that field."
ITR: So is that what you want to major in?
Jackson: "I have no idea yet. I'm thinking about something with animals, or theater. I have no idea."
ITR: You do theater, too?
Jackson: "Yeah. I like to act, do impersonations and have fun."
ITR: On the field, what do you feel like you'll specifically bring to the CSU offense?
Jackson: "I feel like we'll be a threat running and passing. Having my size alone, you'll have to put some type of attention. I think I'll take a lot of attention, or visa versa. They'll take attention somewhere else on the field, and then I'll be open. I think I'll be a good attention-bringer to the CSU offense."
ITR: What were some of the things Coach Fair, Whitted and Bobo shared with you that they liked about your skills set and film?
Jackson: "They like that I have very strong hands. I'm a bigger receiver that can actually move, just like smaller guys. I have great hands and eyes (coordination). Just those factors, they think I can help their team, and possibly play in the NFL."
ITR: I've seen in your film and you stretch the field quite a bit vertically. You're not a typical big, possession type guy. Did CSU's coaches mention how they want to use you, as far as maybe moving you inside some, using you in the short, mid-range and vertically? How exactly do they want to use you?
Jackson: "They feel like I can play anywhere, you know. Move around - move inside, go with safeties and linebackers - I have the feet for it. Just stretch the field when we need to. They run a prostyle offense and I know that offense, so I feel like I will fit in great to that. I'll get a lot of man coverage in the Mountain West. I'll fit in great with that."
ITR: Did you have a chance to watch CSU much on TV this fall?
Jackson: "Yeah, I watched a couple games. I watched the Wyoming game. I watched a couple games; I liked it a lot. I thought, 'How can I fit into this?' I think I really can fit into it, obviously, right away. I just can't wait to go and make a huge impact."
ITR: "Do you feel like you can come in immediately and contribute significantly to the offense?
Jackson: "Yes, sir. Yes, sir."
ITR: Would that bother you if you had to redshirt?
Jackson: "Um, I wouldn't want to redshirt, but if that's what they feel like they need to do, I'd have no problem with it. I'll be all in, just work hard this year, and strive to be the best I can be."
ITR: Do you feel like Michael Gallup or anyone on the offense can mentor you once you get there? Have you really targeted anyone to help you in that way?
Jackson: "A couple guys. I know Jamal Hicks - he's a safety. I knew him before I even committed. We have a good relationship, so I feel like me and him get along really well. We could really mesh together once I'm there."
ITR: What does your offseason training program look like?
Jackson: "I'm running track right now, but I'm just trying to get stronger, faster and more explosive. I'm lifting weights, too. I'm not looking to put on too much weight, but I'm staying strong. I run a few routes here and there, but I don't want to be burnt out by the time I get there."
ITR: Do you know when you arrive in Fort Collins this summer?
Jackson: "June 9 is when I leave, I think."
ITR: Do you know who you will room with?
Jackson: "I don't know, yet."
ITR: Have you picked out your jersey number yet?
Jackson: "I have not, no."
ITR: Do you have a number preference?
Jackson: "Not really. It doesn't really matter to me. I just want to play."
ITR: What are you most excited about in starting this next chapter of your life and being a CSU Ram?
Jackson: "I'm just excited to get on the field, play in front of thousands of fans and make people happy, and just go out and play the sport that I love and make my family proud. That's what I'm excited about."
ITR: With the new stadium opening, you're the first class to open it against Oregon State, a school who offered you during your recruitment. How excited are you to do that?
Jackson: "That is very exciting, because when I went, the stadium wasn't done yet, but I could see what it was going to be. Everybody always tells me you know you'll never get that experience anywhere else. I'm so excited to see what it's like."
ITR: Will your family have a chance to get out there and see you play there this fall?
Jackson: "My dad says he's going to go to every game. Yeah, I'm excited about that. Yes, sir, I can't wait. But, yeah, my other family is going to a couple of games, but my dad says he'll be at every game. I'm excited about that."