The 6-foot-1, 200-pound linebacker from Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast took an official visit to Central Florida earlier in the month. He also contemplated official trips to Ole Miss and Ohio State - which now employs former UNC interim head coach Everett Withers.
Jackson made the final decision during an in-home visit with UNC assistant coach Dan Disch and Larry Fedora last week
"Once you get around and see all these schools, officially and unofficially, you kind of see where you belong," Jackson said. "Going to North Carolina and having the awesome official visit that I had definitely helped out. And then I felt so comfortable with the Southern Miss coaching staff that is coming in. Plus, they're bringing in a new style of defense that really plays to my ability. I felt it was the best place for me."
Although the pitches from Ohio State and UCF were tempting, Jackson was always leaning towards sticking with UNC.
"Once I got to see Coach Disch, once I got to see Coach Fedora, and they sat down and talked to me, I knew right then at that moment that this was probably the place," Jackson said. "I just thought, ‘Hey, I'm sticking with them.'"
During the in-home visit, Fedora made his pitch.
"He was just trying to make me feel comfortable," Jackson said. "He was just telling me the things that were going to change from Coach Butch Davis to Coach Withers to his coaching. It was all positives. It was all things that I think I'm going to love."
Among the changes Fedora plans to make is with the defensive scheme UNC will now employ – the 4-2-5. Because of that, UNC is now projecting Jackson to play the "spur" position (hybrid safety/linebacker). Jackson played a similar position for First Coast.
"Actually, the way I see it, I'm not a true linebacker – I'm not a 240-, 235-pound guy," Jackson said. "I'm a 215-, 220-[pound] type guy – a safety. I'm really a safety that can play linebacker. I'm not a true in the box [all the time] linebacker – I'm a nickel back. I'm too versatile to play just one role."
The next order of business for Jackson as Signing Day approaches is to help UNC recruit his teammate Reggie Northrup.
"Most definitely [UNC] is making a lot of progress with him," Jackson said. "He's actually torn between a couple of schools right now. But I know in his top two is definitely North Carolina."
Jackson is not only recruiting Northrup, but is also trying to be supportive.
"I'm going to of course want him to come with me, but at the same time I want him to make the best decision for him," Jackson said. "If the best decision for him is to go to another school, that's what he needs to do. We're best friends, so if there's a better fit, that's where I want him to be."