"It's great to come out here and compare your talent with the best in the country," he said. "It's an honor to play with some of the best players in high school and just to be selected for the All-American game. We are having a good time. We are trying to come away with a win because the West hasn't won in two years."
Jackson arrived in good shape, ready for the rigors of a tough first day of practice.
"I run a lot and pretty much stay in shape," said the quick, versatile tailback. "It's not bad when you're rotating with four running backs."
The first practice was lively with some unexpected hitting going on. The defense for the west was very aggressive and was in the backfield early and often. Along with the aggressive play came a bunch of trash talk. So who talked the most trash?
"The whole D-line," he answered. "They're really good and they can back it up."
He is used to being the focal point of the offense, both running and catching the ball out of the backfield. In the offense at this game, however, the backs aren't expected to be pass catchers.
"It's a pretty basic offense, you can't put in a whole lot because of the time we have," he said. "All we have to do is execute."
The all world talent here in San Antonio is a college recruiter's dream stop. Of course, this time of year a lot of college choices have been made and the teams each player is looking at have been dwindled down to a select few. For Jackson, he has four.
"LSU, Texas, OSU, and Florida," he said, rattling off the teams that interest him.
He commented on some of his leaders.
"I like the environment (at LSU) and it fits more of my personality," he said. "LSU has the better playing opportunity than Texas, but if I were to stay in state, that's where I would go."
There are some very strange relationships among three of Jackson's final four. At LSU, Nick Saban left for the NFL and in comes Oklahoma State's old head coach, Les Miles. At Oklahoma State the offensive coordinator was promoted to head coach and in comes Florida's past offensive coordinator to take over as OC. He said he wouldn't have a problem at any of these destinations because even though the coaches have changed he still knows them all.
Jackson seems to like the offense that Coach Urban Meyer brings to the table.
"I thought it was exciting and I hear he's a player's coach," he said. "I'm just waiting to get down there to see what Gainesville's like on January 28th."
The offense promotes his special skills as a combo running back who can catch the ball as well as run with it. He believes that being able to do it all will "Prolong my career and helps develop you for the NFL."
Modest, but confident, Jackson said, "I just need to get the ball."
R.J. Jackson has a huge decision to make and a lot of things have been changing to make that decision harder. He seems to be weathering the recruit process and he's prepared to make a decision later this month. He will visit January 28, so the Gators will have the last chance to make the best impression.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is played in SanAntonio, Texas., at the Alamodome on Jan. 15, 2005, and broadcast nationally on NBC at 1 p.m. EST. Scout.com is a sponsor, the official selection partner and exclusive on-line partner of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, as well as the associated U.S. Army Combine for underclassmen.