Will family roots lead him to Pittsburgh?

The University of Pittsburgh can offer something to wide receiver recruits that no other program can, they've had two Biletnikoff Award winners in the past four years, Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Bryant. That and the fact that Pittsburgh loves to throw the ball are two reasons that make them appealing to recruits on a national level.

Larry Fitzgerald may have been an once-in-a-lifetime athlete and human being. His legacy will forever be a part of the Panther legend. Larry Legend has helped Pittsburgh earn a reputation of Wide Receiver "U" and several of the nation's elite are taking notice. The Panthers are in the top five of many prospects including Nyan Boateng, LaVar Lobdell, Jessie Canada, James McDonald, and Greg Orton. Perhaps the best of the lot is a player on another coast who has deep roots in Pittsburgh.

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (5-11, 170, 4.40) of Poly Technic High School in Long Beach, CA has 13 offers at the present time, the most recent being from the Ohio State Buckeyes. Besides Ohio State, "DeeJack" has offers from California, Pittsburgh, LSU, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Nebraska, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State.

Last fall, the 1st Team All-League, 1st team All-CIF, and 1st Team All-California Under Class selection caught 43 passes for 850 yards and 11 touchdowns. One stat that Jackson is most proud of is his recent SAT score of 1280.

"I was real happy with that," said Jackson.

Jackson is rated as the #5 WR in the nation, the #58 best prospect on the National Hot 100, and the #3 overall prospect on the West Hot 100 by TheInsiders.com. Jackson was in Pittsburgh in early May to attend a wedding of a family member and to visit the UPMC facility.

Could an official visit be on the menu for Jackson this fall?

"I'm about 75% sure I'll take an official there. I am hoping to narrow it down by next month. I am planning on getting my officials out of the way between September/November during the high school season."

DeSean has the advantage of being trained by a former 10-year NFL veteran WR Byron Jackson. Byron is DeSean's older brother. The elder Jackson played his collegiate ball at San Jose State where Terry Shea coached him and NFL star Jeff Garcia was throwing him passes. Byron spent 10 years with the Kansas City Chiefs.

DeSean is being urged to go to Pittsburgh by several family members including his father Bill Jackson. At 60 years of age, Jackson has a wealth of heritage from his days in Pittsburgh.

"I worked for 13 years for the Port Authority. I drove the trolley," said Bill Jackson.

Bill grew up in the Hill District and graduated from 5th Avenue High School, which is now Brashear High School. He spent part of his life close to the Squirrel Hill tunnels. His twin brother, an older brother, and his mother still reside in the Pittsburgh area. Bill's mom lives in Oakdale near the Pittsburgh Airport. Jackson still remembers spending time in Little Washington, West Mifflin, and Beltz Hoover.

"I love Pittsburgh. I'm too old for the weather there now, but I'd love to see DeSean go back there and play ball," said the elder Jackson.

Joe Robinson, a member of the Jackson family, owned the Crawford Grill up until his death about 3 years ago, when the family sold it. Bill remembers growing up at the grill and the famous Pittsburghers who would come and go.

"Billy Knight, Roberto Clemente, Bobby Layne, you name them and they were there. Bill Nunn, who was a scout for the Steelers, who scouted West Texas and found Joe Greene and L.C. Greenwood, among others."

Jackson likes several teams including USC, California, LSU, Washington State, Arizona State, Pittsburgh, and Oklahoma. It will be a hard fought battle to win over DeSean, but if the family has anything to say about it, you have to think the Panthers have as good a shot as anyone.

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