James Rickards (Tallahassee, Fla.) cornerback Tavyn Jackson has been committed to South Carolina since June, but the three-star has made it clear he wanted to take a couple official visits before ending his recruitment. On Dec. 2-4, the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder embarked on his first official to Maryland, a program that has had Jackson’s eye for quite some time.
Terps’ defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim offered Jackson back in the summer, and the two have developed a rapport since then. Abdul-Rahim then went in-home with Jackson in late November, ensuring the Florida corner would indeed be heading up to College Park, Md.
“Maryland has really been pushing for me and I really like Coach Rahim. He’s been telling me they need corners there, and just what I’d heard about the program, it sounded great. So I went up to visit, and it was everything I expected and more,” said Jackson, who mentioned he'd be returning to College Park unofficially at some point. “I’d rate it like an 100 out of 10 (laughs). I loved it up there. I’m pretty high on Maryland right now.”
Jackson detailed a number of activities and aspects of Maryland that grabbed his attention. But he said what really sold him was his interactions with the players.
“I mean, from the jump the whole visit was great,” Jackson said. “But probably hanging out with all the players was my favorite part. A lot of the guys I met were from Florida, so it felt like home. The Daniels brothers were cool, and Qwuantrezz Knight, who was my host, he’s from my hometown. So we just really enjoyed ourselves and had a good time. We went to Dave & Buster’s, played basketball – it was great.
“Then they were telling me about the program and how much they liked it there. They love the Maryland coaches.”
Jackson had similar comments for the UMD staff. He said he had sit-downs with head coach D.J. Durkin, Abdul-Rahim and defensive coordinator Andy Buh.
“What really got me was the chemistry there with the coaches. It’s like, they were just very welcoming and easy to talk to,” Jackson said. “Coach Durkin, I knew about him coming in, and everything they say about him is true. He’s a great coach, a great man, he’s hard working and he deserves all the accolades he’s gotten.
“And Coach Aazaar, I can tell he’s a great coach too. We were talking about me playing nickel-corner and how important that position is in Maryland’s defense. I have to get in the books and learn it, but it looks like a great role.”
The Tallahassee native went on to laud the campus, the surrounding area and also the fans at Maryland. Jackson and the fellow recruits had a chance to take in the UMD-Oklahoma State basketball game, so the corner got a taste of the Terps’ student section.
“I really liked how College Park is like a little city. I’m from a small town in Florida, so it’s a change for me, but I really liked it,” Jackson said. “And it’s crazy how it’s like right next to D.C. and there’s so much to do around there. We had a chance to see D.C. a little bit, and that was really cool.
“And the basketball game, that was crazy too. It was an exciting game and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The fans were all into it and it was a great atmosphere. Hopefully they come out to football games like that too (laughs).”
So, where does Jackson stand as December moves along and the dead period approaching?
“To be completely honest, after the Maryland official, I’d say a flip could happen. To be honest, it could,” Jackson said. “I’m still committed to South Carolina and I still have to take my official there, but I’d say I’m maybe a medium pledge. They still want me and they still talk to me, but maybe not as much as they used to.”
Jackson said he’d embark on his South Carolina official either Dec. 9 or right after the dead period ends Jan. 13. The James Rickards product also said he’d like to see Indiana officially either Jan. 20 or Jan. 27 before ending his recruitment.