At 6'5 and 225 pounds, Jackson is projected as a defensive end after playing that position, linebacker, and tight end for his high school team during his junior season. Even with a number of positions played, the production was there. In 2010 Jackson recorded 90 tackles, nine sacks, and four blocked kicks to earn All-Conference honors.
Duke was the first program to offer and it has, apparently, paid off.
"I actually talked to Coach Roper a lot and he said it would be good for me to hear what Coach Cutcliffe had to say directly. So I visited for their junior day and had a chance to talk with Coach Cut. I was excited to have a chance to speak with him and listen to his pitch and vision for me."
And what was it that Cutcliffe saw in Jackson's future? This is what he told TDD following that first trip to Durham:
"He mainly talked about the chance I would have to come in and compete for early playing time and how much they are working and investing in the program. Hiring new coaches and buildings new facilities is only part of it. Coach Cutcliffe isn't interested in just being competitive, he wants to start qualifying for bowl games and eventually becoming a national contender."
In addition to the usual tours and meetings that accompany most visits, Jackson was able to get a feel for the Duke program and campus. Upon reflection, it had a familiar feel that could prove to be a positive mark in Cutcliffe's favor.
"It was a lot like my high school in terms of size and feel, which is good because I love my high school. Duke seems like it could be a great place to be, and getting a Duke degree means a lot in the real world. I'd pretty much be set for life if that happened. I really liked everything about my time there."