Jackson Prepares for UNC Visit

Joseph Jackson will be among North Carolina's official visitors this coming weekend.

"There are a lot of things about the University of North Carolina [that I like]," Jackson said. "I really like the coaching staff. I really like Coach [Art] Kaufman, the D-coordinator, and the DB coach, Coach [Troy] Douglas. They're a bunch of great guys.

"I just really want to check it out."

Jackson, a 6-foot-1, 196-pound linebacker from Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast, is making the visit to UNC in spite of his verbal commitment to West Virginia.

"The reason I committed was because I felt it was the best fit for me," Jackson said. "But I still don't want to close the door until I have to close it. I still consider myself very much a Mountaineer, but I still want to explore my options."

Besides UNC – and West Virginia – Jackson will officially visit Auburn and is also contemplating an official trip to Mississippi.

Surprisingly, Jackson has not visited West Virginia, the school he's been committed to the past seven months, in any form or fashion.

"I know three area players from Jacksonville that actually committed there last year," Jackson said. "I actually talk to them all the time and they tell me how great it is. I really can't wait to see it for myself. They tell me it's a football town and Morgantown is full of diehard fans."

Jackson has, though, visited both Auburn and South Carolina twice, made numerous trips to the big three in-state schools, and visited Alabama and Troy.

This weekend's official visit will be Jackson's first trip to UNC.

"I'm looking to see the environment and to get to meet the other coaches there," Jackson said. "I want to see what the school is all about and what the team is all about. I'm trying to get around the players. I want to see the whole game day atmosphere and see what the town has to offer."

Although Douglas recruits the Jacksonville area for UNC, Jackson says his communication with the coaching staff has shifted more towards Kaufman, who coaches the Tar Heel linebackers.

"They told me they're looking to bring in about four or five [linebackers]," Jackson said. "They're looking at me to play more of a spread linebacker – an outside linebacker. They said I'm so versatile they could play me at various positions – there [at outside linebacker] and maybe strong safety. They said I'll be able to come in and compete for a spot.

"I'm not one that's going to make [my collegiate] decision on whether I'm going to start or not. As long as I get the opportunity to compete, that's all that matters to me."

The past three seasons, First Coast has used Jackson in a similar fashion.

"I play almost like a nickel back," Jackson said.

Thus far this season, Jackson has accumulated roughly 50 tackles and an interception.

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