Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville, Fla.) outside linebacker Dequan Jackson had several Division I offers prior to May 10, but none of the power-five variety. That changed when he heard from Maryland assistants Matt Barnes and Anthony Tucker, who let the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder know the Terps’ staff coveted his services as a linebacker or possibly for the hybrid BUCK spot.
“I was really excited. I’ve been waiting on the big schools to pull the trigger. I put in a lot of hard work and I felt like I deserved it,” said Jackson, who also has offers from Memphis, App State, Georgia Southern, USF, Tulsa, WKU and others. “I’ve been waiting on Maryland because I’ve been hearing from them for a minute. Coach Barnes contacted me earlier in the spring, and then both Coach Tucker and Coach Barnes came in to see me practice. They couldn’t say much when they were there, but they let me know I did a good job in practice and showed me some love. They liked what they saw.”
Tucker is Jackson’s area recruiter, but it’s Barnes, the position coach, who has been in the closest contact.
“Me and Coach Matt talk all the time on Twitter now,” Jackson said. “He’s a good coach, and he’s always checking on me and showing a lot of interest. He asks how my weekend is, how practice went, things like that. I like talking to him.”
Beyond his conversations with Barnes, Jackson is in the research phase when it comes to the Terps. He said he and Barnes have talked about a summer visit to College Park, Md., though, so the three-star can see the school firsthand.
“Basically, what I know now is Maryland is power-five,” Jackson said. “And I did watch some video of them, and I like the defense. But I don’t really know much in-depth.”
Besides UMD, the other power-five schools Jackson has heard from are Georgia, Vanderbilt and Florida. But he admitted his interest from larger programs is “casual” at this stage.
“I do like Georgia and I always wanted to go to play for Florida. That’s my dream school. I’ve always watched that program, I grew up a Florida fan, my parents are fans, and it’s just a great school,” Jackson said. “But I’m not sure they’re going to offer. I’m fine with the interest I do have and the offers I have right now.”
Not that Jackson is satisfied by any means. He said he’s going to keep working for more looks and is open to all comers.
“I don’t have a leader right now or anything like that. I’m just looking for the best fit, what school is going to offer me playing time, and how I fit into the defense,” said Jackson, who noted location is not a factor for him. “But I will say that Maryland is definitely in the race right now. It’s my biggest offer, so they kind of stand out right now.”
So far, Jackson has been able to visit UCF, USF and Georgia Southern. This summer he’ll be going on an extensive tour with his team to schools throughout the South.
“We’ll be hitting around 17 different places,” Jackson said. “Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, places here in Florida – we’re going all over. We’ll have to see if I’m able to get anywhere else after that. I can’t say for sure.”
Jackson said he’d like to go through the summer and the fall before forming any sort of leaderboard. He wants to perform at camps and have his senior film evaluated to see what offers he can garner.