Garland's Jackson 'Follows Heart' to Ames

The Iowa State coaching staff must have done a great job selling the football program to get one of Texas' top athletes to commit before the benefit of an official visit.

But that's what happened in the case of Garland (Texas) High standout Deandre Jackson, a 6-foot, 185-pounder who will switch to cornerback in college after playing quarterback this season. He is the Cyclones' 14th commitment for the 2003, and like many players in this season's recruiting class, made a decision before taking an official visit.

"I've liked Iowa State for a while now and have always been interested in them," said Jackson in an interview with Cyclone Nation Tuesday night. "What made me more interested is the coaches, especially Coach (Tony) Alford who has been recruiting me. He's just really cool and a good guy. That's what made me like Iowa State even more."

"I kind of got tired of all this recruiting stuff. At the same time I was interested in Iowa State more than the other colleges out there. I felt I would fit in there well and followed where my heart took me. I talked to my parents about it and felt that I could fit in there better than other places."

Jackson will be able to follow up his decision with a visit to Ames this weekend, as he is one of 13 players that will take officials to ISU.

"I'm looking forward to hanging out, having fun, getting to know the players and coaches and seeing the surroundings," Jackson said.

Alford's visit to Garland led to an unexpected commitment from Jackson, who had scholarship offers and had been seriously considering Texas A&M and Missouri. The Cyclone assistant took in a basketball practice and eventually visited Jackson later that night, when ISU head coach Dan McCarney and defensive coordinator John Skladany called.

"It all went very well," he said. "Coach Alford came down here and I talked to him all day practically. I talked to Coach Mac on the phone and it seemed like he was real cool. It was nice talking to him. He told me congratulations, was happy that I chose them and said I would like it."

In his first year with the Cyclones, Jackson could be the fastest player on the roster. He has world-class speed and has been clocked at 4.35 consistently. That speed will be put to use in the secondary. The first cornerback to commit for 2003, Jackson can't wait to make an impact on the position.

"I'm pretty excited about moving to defense," he said. "I played it when I was a sophomore and was pretty excited about it then. I don't mind playing defensive back and would really like to play it. They said I'm going to start out playing cornerback.

"I think I'm going to fit in there very well as soon as I learn some of the things that they do on the defensive side. I'm a quick learner and have a lot of confidence coming in. They really like my height and speed. I'm tall and I can move. I can be aggressive at times and patient at other times."

While playing quarterback exclusively during his senior year, Jackson didn't do much in the way of passing. He threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns on 27-of-54 completions, while carrying 70 times for 452 yards and eight scores.

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