Big time JUCO wideout with big time attention

When you talk to recruits, invariably, the depth chart comes up or the overall record of the team. Those are important, at least to most, as they want a definite opportunity to play and they want to do it for a team that can win. Not A.J. Jackson. He wants competition and if your team didn't have much success a year ago, that's fine with him. He'd say that's what the players are there to do.

It's probably a little refreshing when you hear a recruit say that he doesn't care about depth charts, nor does he care how a team did the previous season. Most recruits want that guarantee to play early and they want to do it for the defending national champion.

Not College of the Sequoias wide receiver A.J. Jackson. Point of fact, he wouldn't mind if the opposite were true. "I want competition no matter where I go. How am I supposed to get better if they don't have any competition?" Jackson said. "I look at what a team has at wide receiver, I am looking for them to have some real players, so I can actually earn my spot on the field."

The refreshing outlook doesn't stop there as he doesn't care what the team did the previous season either, looking at a team as not what they were before you got there, but what you can help to make them. "Look at us here. Two years ago they were like 2-9 and last season we went 9-2," he said. "That's why you get players. You get them to turn that stuff around."

If you are thinking that this kid is brimming with confidence, you'd be correct. Of course, standing 6 foot, 6 inches tall, almost 230 pounds and sport a 30+ inch vertical, there's a lot of reason to assume much at the line. Of course, it certainly doesn't hurt your confidence when the defense is basically telling you every single play, they aren't real keen on how they match up.

"I hear coaches all the time telling their DBs to get closer to me on the line," Jackson said. "They don't want to, though, because they know I will manhandle them. I want them to play me close, but I know if they are smart, they won't. That's just a fast way to get beat."

As a freshman in JUCO ball, Jackson had what will probably end up being fairly modest numbers, catching just over 40 balls for a total of 689 yards. What wasn't modest, though, was the 19 touchdowns he scored. If you are keeping track, that's almost half of his receptions going into the end zone.

Needless to say, Jackson thinks that's where he's at his best.

"Get me in the red zone, I'm getting in," A.J. said. "The closer we get to the end zone, the closer they have to play me and the bigger advantage that gives me at the line. You play me at the line, there's not much that's going to happen that you are going to like."

With the size and ability, Jackson's name has climbed the charts as one of the top junior college wideouts for this year. If his numbers weren't enough to prove it, he's also got the offers. So many in fact, he's lost count, but when USC has offered, along with UCLA, you can figure the list of written offers is long. "Yeah, I don't even know anymore, but I know that I'll go anywhere, just so long as they are recruiting me," Jackson said.

You'd think that would be everyone and Jackson does indeed have a ton of offers, but he said that it's been three main teams, who have shown him the most interest thus far. "Right now USC, UCLA and Ole Miss have been showing me the most attention," he said. "Ole Miss is showing me a ton and they have my former QB (Brent Schaeffer), so that makes them a team I am definitely considering."

There are lot of things A.J.'s considering, though, which is to say, that while Ole Miss has a definite foot in the door, having the future services of the ole Sequoias QB, A.J. said that one thing will ultimately seal the deal for him, whoever the team might be.

"I've got make the visit. I mean, I haven't visited anywhere, so I don't really know much about any of these schools offering me," he said. "You see some on TV, but that doesn't tell you really anything about how you fit in, what the coaches are like and what the campus is like."

"I need to see it for myself, and it could be anyone and they can be anywhere."

Nebraska is obviously always looking for a top wide receiver, regardless of the level they played in the year before. They have a great group of experience returning and Maurice Purify, possibly the top JUCO WR last year, still has yet to make it on campus. Nebraska hasn't really shown him the love, though, according to Jackson, so it isn't really up to him to be interested in the Huskers. It's up to them to show him they want him at NU.

"Like I said, I am looking at anybody and Nebraska has a good reputation," he said. "I don't really know much about them, but I am pretty sure they have my number. All you have to do is call."

Of course, that will have to occur within the timeframe, which schools are allowed, but how much time A.J. is giving it before he commits, it's really up in the air. "It's just random at this point, because maybe I make one visit and that's it, or maybe I make a bunch and I still don't know," he said. "I don't know anything about that right now, so I am just taking it as it goes."

If things work out as Jackson envisions, he'll take a least a few visits during the season, because he wants to see how teams play. Not how they do, as we have outlined above, but how they play, regarding the offensive system they have. Outside of that, though, he's not looking at anything other than what he cares about and no part of it has to do with who is already there or what the team did the year before.

That's what he's for.

"I'm going someplace to win, but if they aren't winning yet, hey, what am I there for," Jackson said. "That's why you get big time players, because maybe you haven't taken that next step."

"Wherever I go, that's what I plan to help them do."


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