Most are recruiting the 6-foot-5 300-pound Jackson as an offensive linemen, so I asked Jackson if MSU was doing the same, "Actually, Michigan State is looking at me as a defensive tackle since they lost two players there."
Since John L. Smith likes to look at some players to see if they'll fit better on offense and defense, I asked him if they would do the same with Mark. "Yep, that's what they said, they'll look at me at both sides of the ball."
This makes sense. Jackson is an outstanding center, and MSU loses Chris Morris. MSU also is losing Demato Peko and Brandon McKinney along the interior defensive wall and so there are many opportunities at MSU for Jackson.
Did MSU say anything about early playing time? "Yes, they said I can play early, as long as I learn the schemes and get them down."
"I really like MSU, I went up to MSU for junior day and their campus was huge, and their close to home."
We then chatted about what he brings to the table as a football player. "Most coaches comment on my quick feet, as a offensive lineman I like to pull on the sweep (from the center postion). As a defensive tackle, I'm a run stopper, I had 75 tackles and 10 sacks this year."
He's a winner too, as he commented on his high school team, Brookhaven High, from Columbus Ohio. "We went 9-2, but lost in the first round of the playoffs."
Another revelation was that he has shaken up his visit schedule. "I will be visiting MSU on January 13th, and probably will not be visiting Minnesota. I also will be visiting West Virginia on January 27th, instead of Marshall, who I have eliminated. I probably will not be visiting anyone on January 6th."
Finally, I wanted to get a clear read on the power numbers. "Right now I run the forty in 5.0, and can bench 330-pounds. My vertical jump is about 28-29 inches." You have to like the vertical jump for such a big guy. Vertical jump measures explosiveness, and this guy has it.
So Mark, do you have a leader? "Right now, my top three are West Virginia, MSU, and Texas, but I do not have an offer from Texas."
Certainly, the value of a guy like Mark Jackson is obvious. MSU has serious questions at interior defensive tackle, and offensive center. Jackson has the quick feet and ability to play both those positions, and play them well...and early.
Jackson is also a competitor, I could hear the clear disappointment at the fact his high school team exited the playoffs far too soon to his liking. This guy wants to win, and MSU can't have enough of those guys around. He is also a polite, character type guy that John L. Smith likes to have around and seems to be a great fit as MSU continues its search for linemen on both sides of the ball.