RECRUITING: Florida Early Leader For Jackson

In the heart of the Florida Everglades is the small community of Belle Glade, which per capita may be America's top hotbed of high school football talent. Known as "The Muck," the former swampland around Belle Glade is rich black soil that provides a fertile base for America's sugar industry but sugar isn't the only thing that grows in this town. Drop in at Glades Central High School and you'll see athletes like Jatavious Jackson.

(Jatavious Jackson profile)

Nicknamed "The Truck," Jackson is a 6-4, 280-pound offensive lineman who has already impressed scouts at the Reebok/US Army All-American Combine in San Antonio back in January. He will play both ways for Glades Central in the fall, but it's on the offensive side of the ball where he sees himself at the next level. It's obvious college coaches see things the same way.

"I started getting a bunch of letters right after last season," said Jackson. "The coaches tell me they like my footwork and how I get down the field and block. I am 6-4 and 280 pounds and I just love knocking people to the ground. I did it a lot against Jensen Beach last year."

He has plenty of suitors. Florida, Miami, Florida State, Ohio State, West Virginia, Notre Dame, and Alabama are among the schools giving him lots of attention but there is one school that has more or less taken on the role of frontrunner.

"Florida stands out a lot right now," Jackson said. "I grew up a fan of Florida because of the former Glades Central guys that played there (Fred Taylor, Reidel Anthony, Louis Oliver, etc.). We run the same offense that they run right now."

He attended the Florida-Florida State game last season when the Gators man-handled the Seminoles, savoring the atmosphere at The Swamp, which he says "was crazy." Standing out even more than the game day atmosphere is Florida's coaching staff.

"Coach Meyer and Doc Holliday … I don't know what it is but I like them a lot," he said. "Doc Holliday … when you are around him he just makes you feel excited. Coach Meyer's character and personality just stand out."

He also had some good things to say about the other schools that are a part of his list at the moment.

MIAMI: "They have a lot of good athletes down there and offer a good chance to make it to the next level."

FSU: "I think I could learn from Bobby Bowden and what he has to offer. He could make me a better player."

OHIO STATE: "I got a chance to meet Coach Tressel at school one day and I think I would fit in well in their system."

NOTRE DAME: "I like their scheme as well and how they are recruiting me."

ALABAMA: "They normally have good offensive linemen and I know I could compete there."

WEST VIRGINIA: "I got a chance to meet their coach as well and I think that I would be a good fit there."

One thing in particular will play big in his collegiate decision.

"I want to see where I can come in and get the most playing time," he said. "None stand out right now with opportunity of playing time."

With a qualifying score of 830 on his SAT, he's not about to slack up on his work in the classroom. He's planning to improve a GPA that already has him qualified for Division I and he's also looking forward to helping to lead Belle Glade to a state championship in football.


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