Heels Offer Ga. DT

Without warning, Toby Jackson received a scholarship offer from North Carolina Wednesday afternoon.

"I was kind of surprised about it," said Jackson. "I haven't talked to anybody from North Carolina or know that they were looking at me."

While Jackson hadn't heard directly from UNC, the Tar Heels have inquired about the 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive tackle from Griffin (Ga.).

"I was talking to my head coach and he was like he's been getting a lot of calls from all kinds of different colleges asking about me and North Carolina was one of them," said Jackson. "He didn't go into any details, but he named some schools that have been calling and said I should be looking forward to a lot more offers soon."

Jackson already holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, and Tennessee.

The UNC offer was included in a package that also contained a questionnaire – which Jackson said he plans on mailing back immediately to open up the communication line – and a letter.

"[The letter] was congratulating me on my season last year," said Jackson. "It just said they think I'm a good player, I would fit into their program, and they'd like to offer me a scholarship."

While UNC was impressed by his junior campaign, Jackson was dissatisfied. After going 11-0, Griffin was upended in the second round of the playoffs by Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside, 20-0.

"It went ok, but it was disappointing because things were going so good then all of the sudden we lost in the second round of the state playoffs," said Jackson. "Other than that I had a good season, but I wouldn't say it was my best season."

Contributing to Jackson's "mediocre" season by his standards was a broken left hand, which he played with for half of the season.

"I broke it the third play of the game against Riverdale," said Jackson. "I thought I just had jammed it really bad, so I played through it. I went to the sideline, got it taped up, [and] kept playing.

"Actually, I played two more games without knowing it was broken. I played two games after that without a cast, just tape and a glove. Finally, I was like something was wrong and went to the doctor."

Jackson, who played the last two games of the season with a padded cast, ended with 73 tackles (56 solo) including 12 for a loss and six sacks. For the second season in a row Jackson was named to the all-area team and also made his debut on the all-state team.

With plenty of options, Jackson has decided to establish an early list of favorites.

"I would say my top five are Alabama, Tennessee, UGa, Clemson, and Florida State," said Jackson. "I just like their atmosphere and they have a really good [football] program and a really good academic program. I think those are some of the places I can go and help their team win a championship."

Jackson has visited Alabama to watch a spring practice, attended Tennessee's Junior Day, and observed Georgia's spring game. He is planning on heading to Clemson this weekend, and is looking to make a trip to Florida State over the summer.

Additionally, Jackson is now considering a trip to Chapel Hill to investigate his latest offering school.

"I'm going to try to do a lot of research into [UNC]," said Jackson. "I also am going to try to get up there and see for myself what sort of program that they have.

"I really don't know too much about North Carolina. All I really know is that my favorite player played there – Julius Peppers."

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