GoJackets.com spoke with Rex Robertson, the offensive coordinator for Henry County High, about Jackson. Mr. Robertson not only coaches Jackson but Chris also stays with Robertson about 50% of the time and with his mother the rest of the time, ever since he was about nine years old. Robertson has been taken aback some by all of the recent attention paid to Chris, who is great friends with Robertson's step-son Drew Little, the quarterback for Henry County.
"We're a little bit shocked because everything is about a year early," said Robertson.
Jackson, a wide receiver prospect for college programs, has recently been to Florida State and to Georgia Tech for unofficial visits or camps. In fact, he is taking another visit Friday afternoon to Tech to watch a 7-on-7 camp with friend and GT commitment Kyle Jackson and Drew Little. Robertson was asked if Chris played both ways in high school.
"He plays DB in high school, he plays them both," said Robertson. "But they're recruiting him as a wide receiver. Everybody has been."
Three big programs are already hot on the trail for Jackson. "Tech, Florida State and Tennessee are the main ones," said Robertson.
It was rumored that he could be close to possibly even pulling the trigger and making a very early commitment after his Tech visit.
"He's considering it," said Robertson. "They did a real good job. They've offered him. They really went after him good. That made him feel good."
An FSU offer may not be far behind. "FSU supposedly has an offer coming to him on September 1," said Robertson. "I know nothing's official until September 1. That's the first time official offers can go out; your junior year, September 1. Supposedly that's the date where they can start emailing a kid. They can't even contact a kid until September 1 of their junior year unless they're on campus."
Robertson talked more about the FSU visit.
"He had a great camp at Florida State, obviously," said Robertson. "I dropped him off over there and went back to Panama City. I came back and picked him up and he said he did well. That was the 5th through the 8th, last weekend."
With and FSU offer possibly on the way, the Yellow Jackets have already extended a rare early offer to Jackson and they were told it would become official also in September. Jackson and his extended family are no strangers to The Flats.
"We've been going up to Tech and taking Chris throughout the years, you know, as Tech fans," said Robertson. "This spring they really started giving him some attention. And then he went to the Tech one-day camp and that's where he really got on the radar. And then we went back for the 7-on-7 with our high school team and they were great to him. And they were great to all of us really."
Robertson recalled being asked into the Coach Chan Gailey's office to talk about an offer.
"They came and got us off the practice field and gave us a ride on the golf cart down to Gailey's office," said Robertson. Coach Gailey then pitched the idea of Chris eventually becoming a Yellow Jacket himself. Robertson said Gailey, "just gave his sale of Georgia Tech, the degree. The bottom line is he said Chris fits in character-wise with what they are looking for. That was the main message. They really wanted him and that was why; because of his character. Then we had questions and answers and all of that good stuff. Coach Gailey told him not to make a decision [yet]. Told him it was a life decision and he shouldn't make it [right there]. He didn't ask him to make a decision. And then that was basically it. Chris was very excited and appreciative of the offer being made so early. It meant a lot."
Robertson was asked about what he and Chris talked about after they left and if Jackson had considered committing.
"He's really strongly considering it," said Robertson. "There's no doubt. He is not a complicated kid. He's been working for this for years. He's not a shopper. He's not going to wait until his senior year and go see all of these visits. When he's ready he wants to go ahead and commit and put it behind him and keep working. Some kids want to milk it and see what all they can get. For him, it will be a dream come true and then he'll move forward and keep working. I've had him since he was 9 and this is what he's been working towards so… they make an offer where you want to go, why would you play around."
Not knowing totally how offers and commitments work, especially this early in the process, Robertson sought clarification from Coach Gailey.
"I went to the one-day camp [at Tech] and Gailey had a question and answer with the parents," said Robertson. "I asked him two questions… What date can you be offered and what makes an offer official? And he said September 1, he can be offered as a junior and it will be in writing. That makes it official. But we don't do that. We normally don't offer kids until their senior year. He told me that. I even said that in his office the other day. This is a shock because you had told me that you didn't make offers to juniors."
What specifically has attracted Chris to Georgia Tech?
"Number one: he's a home town [kid]," said Robertson. "Like youth league, he still goes to the youth league games. They've got his helmet and jersey retired over there. You know, he's still a down-to-earth hometown [kid]. That's number one. Number two: He's a fan. He's been a fan. We're Tech fans, so I've been taking him to games over there the last so many years. And then number three: the quality of people. And then the coaching staff, obviously, if they're not number one. The coaching staff has really been good to him. They really wanted him and I think it's sincere."
What other coaches have they dealt with at Tech?
"Pretty much all of them," said Robertson. "They did a real good job of making, not only him but, Henry County feel good. Coach [Giff] Smith has been heading it up. Coach [Patrick] Nix; he used to always shake our hands when Chris was a 7th and 8th grader. He's always been good to us. The receiver coach just got involved: Coach [Buddy] Geis. And he made a big impact the other day."
Chris already knows one Tech player well and one who is on his way to Tech.
"He knows Tashard Choice.," said Robertson. "He's talked to him a few times. And at Union Grove: Kyle Jackson. Union Grove is right down the road from us. So, they communicate."
Robertson described Jackson as an excellent athlete and a hard working student with great character.
"His best time so far is a 4.45; at the Tech one-day camp," said Robertson. "Everywhere he's been they say his start is bad. So they think he's faster than that when he corrects it. A real hard worker in the weight room. Just a good kid; yes sir, no sir. Football and academics is his life really. He's a good student, he has to work hard, he's not a genius though. He's got a good GPA but he has to work at it. He's just a hard worker and that's why I think they wanted him. That's why they said they wanted him. They said a lot of kids are big and strong and fast but… character."
It didn't take long for Chris to impact his high school team.
"He started from day one as a freshman: offense, defense, kick returner, punt returner," said Robertson. "I think he had 13 touchdowns last year. He has several interceptions. He made some interceptions and returned them. He had some touchdowns his freshman year. He's got good individual stats but I'm not exactly sure what they are. He's done a little bit of everything for us the last two years. He's getting to play wide receiver this year. He had to play tailback last year. But his best football has yet to be played."