Peach County (Fort Valley, Ga.) outside linebacker JaQuez Jackson had offers from Arkansas State, Colorado State, Georgia Southern, Kent State and Troy prior to May 13. But then he heard from UMD-area recruiter Tyler Bowen and had his first power-five look from the Terps.
“I was really excited. I always dreamed of playing for a team in that type of conference like the Big Ten. It’s a big chance for me,” said Jackson. “It’s a great conference and it’s an honor.
“I heard from Coach Bowen before, and he came down here to see me work out. He said he liked me, and he gave my tape to the defensive coordinator [Andy Buh], and he loved it. Then they gave me the offer. Coach Bowen said they loved my size and were surprised with my film and how I played the game. They liked my physicality and other attributes too.”
Jackson said he’s been in touch with Bowen “a good two weeks” now.
“Coach Bowen is a real good person and he shows love. He’s good to talk to and I feel comfortable talking with him,” Jackson said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know him more and visiting Maryland.”
Evidently Bowen has told him a bit about the Terps too. Meanwhile, Jackson has done his own research on the school.
“I know they’re a top program and coming up. I know it’s Big Ten. But Coach Bowen told me they have good academics in what I want to major in, which is sports management. So that was great to hear,” Jackson said. “Coach Bowen said Maryland would fit me well, and it does sound like a great place. He said they’re looking for guys that are game ready and I’m one of those guys….I loved it. It’s great to hear.”
But Jackson doesn’t have any early standouts. He said he wants to let his recruitment develop, take some visits and then go from there.
“But when I make my top five, Maryland is definitely going to be there,” he said.
So far, Jackson has been to Troy, Ga Tech and Georgia Southern. He’ll be at Rutgers, Central Michigan, Maryland and maybe others this summer.
Jackson has been in contact with coaches from Pitt, WVU, Wake, Cincinnati, Marshall, Florida and Miami, so if any of those staffs ante up he could entertain them as well.
“But I’d say right now Marshall, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern and Rutgers talk to me the most,” Jackson said. “But I’m not really worried about who’s in touch or who offers. I’m counting my blessings with what I do have. If more offers come in, I’ll look at them, but I like what’s on the table now.”
Jackson plans to make his college decision later during the summer or during his senior season.
“Academics are first for me.. I want to go to a place where I can get a great degree,” he said. “Then relationship with the coaches and a place that really wants me.”