Vernon Jackson of Orlando (Fla.) Evans took his first recruiting trip of the year this past weekend.
"I went to Illinois State for a visit," Jackson said. "It was good. I just went up there because their coach recruiting me used to play here."
Jackson, a 6-foot-1, 260-pound defensive tackle, is headed back to the Midwest this weekend.
"On Friday I'm going to Iowa," he said. "They have offered me and they're my leader right now. They have a good defensive line and they're losing three guys. The coach told me two of them will get drafted."
"I like them because they're always physical. That's my style. They hit people in the mouth. I thought Wisconsin was the most physical team up there till Iowa whipped up on them. They beat LSU, last year's champs, in the bowl game down here.
"I went to one of their (bowl) practices. It's a top program and I think I could really be successful and enjoy myself there. It looks real good for Iowa right now; I'm excited about taking my trip up there."
In an earlier Scout.com update, one our network's five-star rated offensive linemen (Matt Hardrick) had some glowing words regarding Jackson's abilities.
Hardrick, who at one time had offers from Miami, Florida State, Florida and Oklahoma, but is now seeing some schools back off because he is not yet qualified, was moved inside to guard for their game in order to block Jackson.
"He (Jackson) keeps coming at you full speed every play," Hardrick said. "He never stops. He's got a good motor. He's quick, he's strong, and he plays with good leverage. We went at it all night and he was the best player I faced all year."
Jackson was his team's leading tackler and sack artist all season. He talked about that same match up in a recent Scout.com report.
"Matt's a big recruit but I didn't care," Jackson said. "He's like 6-6 so it was tough for him to stay low enough. I went at him all night. I figured the best thing to do was hit him and hit him hard and that's what I did. He's real strong but wasn't real hard, you know. The colleges will train him up and he will probably be a great right tackle someday but I had a good night against him. I wish I could go up against a guy like that every week. He's good competition."
Jackson, a full qualifier, finished the year with 72 tackles and nine sacks. He's now wrestling and getting ready for weightlifting season. Last year, he finished in the top five. "I'm going for the title this year," he said. On the recruiting front, Jackson recently picked up his first two offers. However, that is only the beginning.
The talented lineman said he's not going to bother reviewing depth charts when it comes time for a decision.
"It really doesn't matter," he said. "Everyone will have guys at my position. Some will be good, some won't. I've noticed a lot of guys who are big in high school and can dominate based on size alone have a tough time in college because everyone's as big and the O-Linemen are much better with technique and everything."
"Some people say I'm a little small. They'll see how small I am in four years. Ask your boy Hardrick if I'm too small. I'm hungry man. I'm gonna eat it up in college. I want the coaches to push me and challenge me. I wanna line up next to the best guy they have. Bring it on."
Quotes from Scout.com's 11/29/04 update on Jackson were used in this report. Jackson was not listing Iowa at that time, so HN.com wanted to include these quotes due to Iowa's offer to Jackson.