Junior College Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College Defensive End Robert Jackson originally signed with Syracuse coming out of High School in Connecticut. Not making the grades to qualify, Jackson choose to attend Fort Scott CC and put himself in position to play Division I football. Making grades and ready to move on, Jackson says there was one school that continued to recruit him throughout, and that was all the difference in the world for this recruit.
"Well Kansas State kept recruiting me. They were the school that came down a lot and watched me at Fort Scott. They were one of the first schools to offer me at Fort Scott. I had a bunch of other offers from other schools but K-State followed me from the very beginning, the old coaching staff came down to watch me and they offered me early and were just sold on me. There were a lot of schools that recruited me on and off but K-State was always there. They were always checking on my grades to see if I was going to qualify and you know that was before I had even told them anything. They were always keeping tabs on me you know and me personally, that meant a lot. There were a lot of schools that recruited me hard at one point and then I would not talk to for two months and then they would call me again. For K-State to always be there for my two years at junior college, that meant a lot to me personally." Jackson told KStateFans.
Originally scheduled to visit Michigan State this weekend, the star blue chip defensive end prospect says that trip will never happen.
"I am not going to go look anywhere else. I told the K-State coaches I want to play for them and committed to them and Coach McCarty and I am not going to go look anywhere else. That (Manhattan) is where I want to play my ball."
"I talked to all the coaches. They all came up to me and asked me if I could see myself playing for them and I told them all yea, I could. I was on my visit and just told them all yea, I can see myself playing here. In Manhattan, how high they place the football program. How much importance they put on the program, how they put them on a pedestal and everything. That was the extra little push that I need and I knew. I knew this is where I wanted to go," said Jackson.
Playing defensive end for Fort Scott and holding offers from Michigan State, Iowa State, Rutgers, Pittsburg and South Florida- Jackson says he was recruited to bring a particular element to the defense.
"They expect me to come in and play. They told me that the model for the defense is speed and physical. They have watched my tape and they know I am pretty fast off the edge and whatever, so they talked to me and said they want speed. They want someone coming off the edge and they want more quarterback sacks, they want more quarterback hurries, they want more quarterback pressures you know get in the quarterbacks face more and pick some things off, make them make mistakes, dropping in (to coverage) and they basically told me they want me for my speed and they want speed on defense. That the model will be speed and pressure and I can do both."
At 6-foot-3 and 263 pounds, Jackson says he has been working on his speed since arriving to Fort Scott and it is paying off.
"My specialty is what they said they are looking for speed. Over the summer when I was working out and running everyday, I was clocking in at a 4.5 forty and I am about 265 pounds. At 265 pounds and a 4.5 forty, I know I can give them the rush up the field and get to the quarterback. I know I can put pressure on him and get more sacks and that is what they want. They told me this defense is going to be physical and that they want players who are going to be very physical and play tough ball and they want speed all over out there."
In terms of the coaching staff, Jackson had nothing but good things to say about his trip and the new coaches in Manhattan.
"Coach Prince, Man is just real cool and he is involved with the program. You know at some big time schools you do not even get to see the head coach. Not Coach Prince, he is involved with the program and the players but everywhere we went to visit he was there. Getting involved with everything, making sure everything is alright. That right there is who you want to play for. He has been to my house, met my parents and everything- he is just a great guy."
"Where else can you go and the Athletic Director is giving guys hugs and telling them everything there is to know about him? He did not just get that off a computer and he knew everything about us all. Right there that tells you how important football is there and that means a lot to players knowing that is where they are going to play. I mean him knowing everything about us and the fans, they just love the program, where else would you want to play? You know?"
With three years to play two, Robert says he is ready to go academically and is looking forward to signing with Kansas State and playing in Manhattan. He also had a message for Kansas State Fans.
"Tell them to come out and support the program. I myself can't wait to get there and play for them and the fans are great, tell them to keep it up and I am looking forward to playing for them."
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