Sam Webb: How big is it for Michigan, North Carolina and West Virginia that they are the first schools to offer you, is that an advantage for those schools?
Branden Jackson: "I think it is an advantage because they show interest in me before all the other big offers. I was just sitting here talking to my brother and he was telling that I'm probably going to offers from schools that really haven't seen tape on me, do not know what type of player I am because Michigan offered me. They do not want Michigan to get me, so they offered me, just for the simple fact that I must be good if Michigan is offering me. They offered me before the bigger names…they a big name team but they did not wait to see who offered me and be like oh he must be pretty good let me check him out. They actually saw something they liked."
Sam Webb: We're going to play a little word association game. I'm going to say the school you tell me what you like about the school and what you still have questions about starting with West Virginia.
Branden Jackson: "I honestly like that it is far enough away from home but close enough that I could get back if I had to like depending on how I feel. I kind of like that they have linebackers leaving. They have three linebackers that are going to be graduating seniors. One who I'm pretty close with actually.
Sam Webb: What do you still have questions about with West Virginia?
Branden Jackson: "With West Virginia, I still have questions about whether or not it is the place for me. Whatever school I pick, I want to make sure that I'm home and then after I'm done with college, if I choose to get a job, I can get a job there and feel welcome; feel like West Virginia has become my new home and right now I do not know how that would work. When I went up there, it was cool and nice and cozy but it did not feel all the way home yet, and maybe it is because I haven't met everyone. It was just an unofficial visit."
Sam Webb: Now North Carolina?
Branden Jackson: "What I like about them is that I'm being recruited as a defensive for them. North Carolina if you look at like history, they have a really, really good track record for getting defensive ends in the NFL. Like in the last four or five years they have had a defensive end go I think every year high in the draft. They develop defensive ends really well. I know that the head coach used to coach in the NFL and he was back when everybody wanted to play for Miami; I know he was the coach of that team. Everyone wanted to be a Hurricaine so that just shows that he knows what he's talking about."
Sam Webb: What do you still have questions about with North Carolina?
Branden Jackson: "I have questions about…it is not that I want to be so close to home...I want to know if I would be able to come home every once in a while. I'm not a momma's boy. I do not want to come home every weekend, maybe once in a while. I do not know if I would be able to come and get it, especially since as a freshman, usually at schools you can't drive until your sophomore year or whatever. So it is just a question if I need to get home if I'd be able to."
Sam Webb: The last one Michigan, what do you like about Michigan and what do you still have questions about?
Branden Jackson: "I love Michigan's defense. They just seem like they are so hard nose, up front and in your face. That's what I'm about. I do not really talk stuff a lot. I let me game play for me. If I make a big play, my emotions show through. I just love the way their defense is so aggressive to me and plus the wing-T helmet is another plus."
Sam Webb: What do you still have questions about?
Branden Jackson: "I have questions that they are usually one of the biggest teams out there. They always towards the top and they're recruiting players from everywhere. Their depth chart concerns me, whether or not I would be able to play because I'm sure they got talent from Florida and talent from her and there. I haven't heard anything about recruiting as a linebacker because I do not know who is going and who is staying this year. Like how large the depth chart actually is. I do not have a problem with working hard but if I was being recruited as a defensive end and you all have ten defensive ends that were equally good."
Sam Webb: When it comes to a timeline for making a decision do you have it sort of set in your mind of how long you want this process to go?
Branden Jackson: "No I do not. I do not know how long I want it to wait. I want to make sure that whatever school I go to is like a right fit, I do not want to have any regrets. If it takes me to take five official visits so be it. I'm going up to Michigan on the 22nd (May) and who is to say that I do not love and I'm like this is the place I want to go. If that happens then that happens, but I do not have a set date and time. I just want to go and see what my gut feeling is once I visit these schools and stuff."
Sam Webb: Are you going up on the 22nd I guess that is the BBQ at the Big House. Will that be the first time that you've been up to Michigan?
Branden Jackson: "Yeah. I heard they cook some really good ribs and chicken, so I'm looking forward to that and see if they really can cook. Because down here in Pittsburgh we can cook (laughter). I heard about their ribs and chicken from Coach Gibson, so I'm going to go up there check them on it."
Sam Webb: I want your honest critique. If it is terrible, will you really tell me?.
Branden Jackson: "I'll tell you (laughing)."
Sam Webb: Who is coming up on the visit with you?
Branden Jackson: "My mom is coming of course because she is the most important person in my life and then my older brother because that's who I look up to. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be the type of athlete that I am. He's always pushing me. He could have gone division one but there was problems with him, not athletically or grade wise but attitude wise, so he is always questioning me about my character and always being on my best behavior. But at the same time I can't be soft or too passive. I can be a gentle giant – gentle off the field but on the field I have to be a mad man. He's just pushed me so much. Everything that I've built and everything I've learned to do towards sports is all because of him. He's just my mentor, so he'll be coming with me."
Sam Webb: I'm saving the hardest one for last; do you have a leader right now?
Branden Jackson: "No I do not actually. I do not have a leader. There all different in a certain ways. If I had to decide today I would be torn, I would not know where to go actually."
In case you missed it: Branden Jackson Part One
PA LB Branden Jackson talks U-M: Part Two
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