Zach Jackson may ultimately have to choose between a friend and a close relative when finalizing his college decision. Running back teammate Nick Tompkins just committed to Michigan State, and he is considering attending the same school.
At the same time, Jackson can't ignore his cousin Evan Wilson at Illinois. Wilson is the starting tight end and showed Tompkins around on his recent visit. He will undoubtedly do the same for his cousin. Jackson shares what he wants in a football program.
"I want a great academic school, a great college community with a great atmosphere and a great football team. Distance from home isn't a problem for me."
Academics are important to the intelligent 6'-0", 180 pounder.
"I haven't decided on a major yet. It may be Biology, but I'm not sure right now."
Some of his offers have solid academic reputations, including the UI.
"I have offers from Illinois, Wake Forest, Michigan State, Vanderbilt and Army."
The Snellville, Georgia, product developed rapidly as a player last fall.
"I play safety. I didn't start the beginning of my junior year. I was behind a senior teammate who got hurt, so I finished the season. I did pretty well and got All-Junior honors."
There is plenty to learn, and Jackson is an eager and quick learner.
"What I want to work on over the summer is getting my speed right, put some more weight on and get stronger. My team has been working out, and I've been working hard. I'm a lot faster and a lot quicker.
"I want to react to the ball quicker, work on my backpedal, get my head back around between the receiver and the quarterback and have a better feel. I think this summer I'm getting better on these things."
Brookwood High School should field an excellent team this fall. In the meantime, Jackson is anticipating his July 21st visit to Illinois. Tompkins recommended it highly, and Wilson admits to being in his ear. Another factor in the UI's favor is his recruiting coach Ron West.
"I really like Coach West. He's funny. I really like him a lot."