With hundreds of top football talent out at the Nike headquarters to compete at The Opening this week, rumors and recruiting updates will move about as fast as the players on the turf fields.
One rumor already making it’s way through the camp is a narrowed list ready to be released by 2016 Franklin (Calif.) Elk Grove four-star defensive back Lamar Jackson.
“Yeah it’s true,” Jackson told The Michigan Insider. “I would probably say my top seven (or eight) is USC, UCLA, Oregon, Washington, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Alabama. Arizona State might be in there too, depending on how my visit goes.”
Five of the eight schools listed above are located out on the west coast, in part because of travel convenience, but as Jackson says the plan is to make some cross country trips before a decision is close to being made.
“That’s why it’s taking so long,” Jackson said. “I’m just trying to figure out who to see cause I plan on getting to all my top schools, those campuses before I make my decision and things like that.”
“Right now I know a couple of schools are dead so when I get back I’m going to try to get on as many campuses as possible before the end of summer,” added Jackson. “Next week is my last week of (camp) football so I’m going to try to get on as many campuses as I can.”
One school a long flight away is Michigan and the Wolverines have made the 6-foot-2, 210-pound athlete a major priority in the 2016 class.
Still in the process of figuring out his visit schedule and plans for the rest of summer, Jackson wants Michigan fans to know there’s no need to worry, he’ll be in Ann Arbor at some point.
“If I don’t make it this summer -- I want to make it this summer -- if I don’t I’ll take an official visit,” Jackson said. “Michigan is up there and I’m pretty sure they’ll be top five, for sure.
“Just cause (Jim) Harbaugh and the coaching staff, I get good vibes from them and they want me to play, they like my skill, technique and stuff like that. I feel I’d fit good in the scheme playing corner. It’s Harbaugh, so, I’m going to give it a shot.”
Although ranked as the No. 9 overall safety prospect in America according to Scout, Jackson won’t rule out any position in the defensive backfield at the next level, including cornerback.
“It’s not a preference,” Jackson said. “I’ll play either or, whatever I’ll get on the field quickest but I feel I’m comfortable at both.”
Beyond just Harbaugh, other members of the Michigan coaching staff, including Jackson’s possible position coach are making a positive impression as well.
“Coach (Greg) Jackson, Coach (Chris) Partridge, they’ve all been talking to me,” Jackson said. “We talk every other weekend and it’s been good.”
Once Jackson ventures off on unofficial and official visits over the next few months, the goal is simply to make a quick checklist before narrowing down his list even further.
“Once I get on these campuses I’m going to see where I feel I can see myself being, see if they have a nice campus cause I haven’t seen too many schools,” Jackson said.
“Its just campuses, education and all of the schools that are going to be in my top list have a good education so I’m going to get a good education regardless. It’s all about vibes and coming in (to play) as quick as possible.”
Jackson plans to officially narrow his list to 10 schools, then a top five before planning to announce his verbal commitment at the 2016 Under Armour All-American game.