The state of Virginia figures to be prime recruiting ground for NC State head coach Tom O'Brien and his staff and they've already targeted several of that state's top prospects for the class of 2008.
A new name that can be added to the list is talented linebacker Derek Jackson from Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, Va.
At 6-3, 213 pounds, Jackson has been timed as low as 4.55-seconds in the 40-yard dash. His combination of size and speed have made him a versatile athlete at Deep Run, starring at both wide receiver and linebacker.
As a junior, Jackson hauled in 15 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he notched roughly 60 tackles, eight tackles for loss and three interceptions- one of which was returned for a touchdown. For his efforts at linebacker, Jackson was named to the all-district team.
Although he has yet to earn a scholarship offer, Jackson is receiving interest from the likes of NC State, Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College, UNC, Penn State, Syracuse, Northwestern, Nebraska and Central Florida. He says that several schools would like to see him at camp before deciding on an offer.
"I know State and Clemson want to see me at camp," said Jackson. "State told me they had film of me at wide receiver and linebacker and wanted to see me work out at both positions to see which one they want to recruit me for."
If Jackson makes the trip to NC State this summer for camp, it will be his third visit to Raleigh. He talked about his time spent with the Wolfpack.
"I was there for the spring game but I had been there prior," said Jackson. "On my first visit I got a chance to see the facilities and they were really nice.
"I'm really impressed with coach O'Brien. He was basically saying that they want all their players to graduate there and they want to win. He's all about academics and winning and you can't beat that. Coach Willis (Pack DL coach Keith Willis) had been recruiting me before but I found out at the spring game that coach Bible (Pack offensive coordinator Dana Bible) will be recruiting the Richmond area now."
In addition to NC State, Jackson has also had the opportunity to visit a few other schools as well.
"We had a chance to go to Boston College and I really liked the campus and academics there," he said. "I've visited East Carolina and we went to UNC too. I liked the atmosphere over at Carolina."
For now, Jackson says Clemson is the team that seems to be recruiting him the hardest.
"Coach (Andre) Powell from Clemson probably stays in touch with me the most," said Jackson. "I went down their to see one of their spring practices but it got cancelled so I had a chance to spend some one on one time with him. I was also able to go around and check out the campus."
Although he hasn't put together a formal list of favorites, Jackson does have several schools that he has a keen interest in.
"I can say that I don't really have any favorite schools," said Jackson. "But if I were to get some offers, I'd like to get them from NC State, Nebraska, Clemson and Northwestern. I like those schools but they're in no particular order."
A two-time all-academic selection, Jackson is as solid in the classroom as he is on the football field.
"I'm in an information technology class in high school so I'd like to do something with computers in college," he said. "I'd like to get into something like website design or information systems. My parents are big on academics so they want to see me do well in the classroom."
Stay tuned as Pack Pride will continue to follow Jackson throughout the coming year.