"A lot of schools are really close to offering," said Jackson, who has reportedly received interest from Ball State, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Missouri, Northwestern, Purdue, Stanford and UCLA, among others. "There's some schools that stand out, but it's really close."
One school in the running for Jackson, who also plays running back for Decatur Central, is Northwestern, and Jackson said he has a recruiting visit to Evanston scheduled for April 7.
"I'm pretty high on [Northwestern]," Jackson said. "They have great academics and that's what I really want to do: Go and get a great education wherever I go."
According to Jackson, who burst onto the radar of a number of schools last fall, Northwestern wide receivers coach Dennis Springer has been in contact with him and has been singing the praises of both the Northwestern classrooms and the campus' lakeside scenery.
"We've been talking about how good they are academically," said Jackson, who tallied 17 tackles for loss back in his sophomore campaign in 2010. "[As well as] the campus lifestyle and just where I'd be on their depth chart."
Evanston isn't Jackson's only scheduled stop in the near future, however, as the junior will also be visiting Toledo on Saturday and Northern Illinois on April 8, the day after he visits Northwestern.
Jackson said he wants to play in the Big Ten – and hears from his coaches that he would fit in well in the conference – but he said he is looking first and foremost for a school with a winning tradition and a passion for football.
"They have to win," Jackson said. "They can't lose constantly. And [I'm looking for] a football school – not about another sports program – a football school."
Although Jackson plays on both sides of the ball, most schools have focused on his potential as a linebacker, and the high school standout said he would relish the opportunity to play for a coach with a defensive background such as Pat Fitzgerald.
For now, though – while still in high school – Jackson said he has a number of goals on both sides of the line of scrimmage, as well as some lofty team aspirations.
"We want to be a conference champion," Jackson said. "Hopefully win sectionals – maybe regionals. But I want to rush for at least 750 [yards] and have 100 tackles this year."