Jackson Puts Visits on Hold

Branden Jackson has completed his first two official visits, with trips to Rutgers and Texas Tech, but it will be a while before his next one.

"They went real well," said Jackson, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound jumbo athlete from McKeesport (Pa.). "They both were different in their own unique way. But I liked both schools that I visited.

"Rutgers had a really unique academic support set up.

"And then at Texas Tech, I admired the depth chart and how I could play earlier. Seeing that [during my visit] made it more a reality than just talk. They have a bunch of seniors graduating."

During Jackson's official visit to Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights lost to UNC, 17-13.

"That didn't really matter to me," Jackson said. "I don't really focus on the outcomes of games."

At his head football coach's request, Jackson, who plans to take all five of his official visits before making a verbal commitment, will take a sabbatical from official trips until after his football season concludes.

"A lot of [college coaches] have asked me to officially visit," Jackson said. "But I haven't decided which [schools] I'm actually going to visit after the season."

Jackson doesn't even have a set list of schools under consideration for his final three official visits.

"I haven't really thought about anything yet," Jackson said. "I'm just focused on the season now."

Jackson says he fields about seven calls a night on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Coaches from Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Texas Tech are among the calls.

Jackson will only officially visit schools that have offered him a scholarship. All of the aforementioned schools have offered, except Connecticut and Oregon.

UNC, which has also offered, is under consideration for an official visit.

"I don't think I got to see the whole program, because I didn't get to meet too many players when I was up there," said Jackson, who made his first Chapel Hill visit during UNC's summer camp. "… I would go back to North Carolina, but I don't know yet which [official visits] I'm going to [take]."

Most schools are recruiting him as a linebacker, his high school position. UNC, though, projects him as a defensive end.

"I'd like to play linebacker just because I'm more comfortable standing up," Jackson said. "But I don't think it would be that big of a change putting my hand down. I've put my hand down recently and it's not too different. I think I would prefer linebacker, but I wouldn't mind at all playing defensive end."

Jackson said that the resignation of his primary recruiter at UNC, John Blake, won't affect his decision.

"North Carolina is a school that I would go to whether or not I played football," Jackson said. "Coach Blake stepping down, it hurts me because I really liked him as a person. But that won't affect whether I come to North Carolina or not. I won't base my decision off a coach or the prospects of a team winning or losing. It's all on whether I would go there if I wasn't playing football. I would love for him to be there, because we had such a strong relationship."

UNC informed Jackson of Blake's resignation the day it occurred, before he heard about it elsewhere.

"I don't remember [the UNC coach's] name," Jackson said. "He just told me Coach Blake had stepped down but I'm still high on their board."

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