Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O’Dowd defensive end Jordan Jackson received his first scholarship offer from Hawaii back in February. Jackson was one of the few recruits who had the opportunity to take an unofficial visit to Hawaii from the mainland for the April 23 junior day.
Jackson had only great things to say about his experience.
“As soon as I walked in I felt it was a warm welcome,” Jackson said. “Everyone knew me and was greeting me, I felt a connection right away.”
Jackson’s visit continued on with a sit-in in a team meeting, watching film with the coaching staff.
“The coach brought up a spreadsheet that had all the defensive statistics,” Jackson said. “I hadn’t seen a coach take the time to pull up a spreadsheet of what the defense did that was good and bad that day. I think that shows the organization of the coaching staff as a whole and shows they take their jobs really seriously… They recognized all the players that did well and where they need to improve. There was a sense of accountability there as well.”
The following day, Jackson also watched a scrimmage and practice, then took a tour of the campus.
“Saturday we watched practice, they did a scrimmage, they did some hitting and tackling drills, that was really exciting to see,” Jackson said. “I like the intensity of their practice. It’s not up-tempo, but it’s the perfect speed mesh of instruction and fast repetition.”
One reason that Hawaii is a school of interest for Jackson is because of the university’s marine biology major. Hawaii’s marine biology department has use of its own island - Coconut Island in Kane'ohe Bay. Jackson wasn’t able to visit the site due to its location, but did get to hear more about it.
“One of the players actually is majoring in marine biology,” Jackson said. “I was talking to him and asking if there was any conflict after school getting from the marine biology major to practice on time. He said, ‘The coaches and administrators do a good job working it out so there’s not an issue and if there is an issue, school always comes first.’ I thought that was a really good thing. Also, their APR score is really high and I like to focus on academics before anything.”
Jackson’s last day in Hawaii was spent going to the beach and snorkeling.
“I felt overall it was a really good experience overall and it was productive,” Jackson said. “I would really like to go back for an official visit and maybe even an unofficial visit.”
Making the four-year move from the mainland can be tough for some to move away from family, but the trip also left a good impression on his mother, Jackson said. His mom, Leslie, knows the recruiting process well. She runs the Bay Area Cali Classic Senior Bowl, a showcase game for student-athletes without Division-I offers. In fact, Hawaii commit Ricky Walker III played in the past year’s edition of the game.
“They are already familiar with what she does so for her to meet them and build a relationship is really good,” Jackson said. “When I was talking with my mom when we got home, she said, ‘I really like Hawaii and I feel like they really like you too. I feel like it’s a really good environment for you as a student and as an athlete. I feel like it would be a great place for you to grow and be yourself.’ Hawaii seems like a great place to just chill and not worry about anything except practice, go to school and do your homework.”
Jackson’s offer from Hawaii is one of two, with Idaho offering him his second scholarship earlier this week. Nevada and San Jose State are also showing interest.
Of one more note, the Bay Area prospect also mentioned the shock of island weather.
“It was about 85 degrees outside and all of a sudden it started raining,” Jackson said. “The water was warm and it was damp. I thought, ‘Dang what the heck is this, this is weird.’ Then it only rained for two minutes and only in one spot. I asked the coach, ‘Does this happen a lot?’ I thought it would be good during practice if it’s hot and humid to get that breeze and rain to cool off. Hawaii is the best place to practice at 6 a.m., it will still be 70 to 75 degrees and humid so it’s not cold air. It’s like the perfect temperature.”
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