Florida DE Jackson leaning Card?

With each passing year, it seems high school football players are making college commitments earlier and earlier. Several years ago, it was something of an aberration for a prospect to end his recruitment before going on a handful of official visits, but now many top players are making verbal pledges to colleges before the start of their senior years...

One recruit that seems determined to buck that trend is Tim Jackson of Florida's Gibbs High School. A highly recruited defensive end with 15 offers to his name, Jackson is still a ways from even narrowing down his list of college choices.

"I don't have any favorites right now," Jackson said. "I'm trying to keep it even as much as I can before I sit down and work on narrowing the list down as the summer goes on. I'll be sitting down with some of my mentors and my parents and see if I can cut the list. Ideally [I'd cut to] five schools, based on which five official visits I'd like to take this fall."

While Jackson said that all of the schools are still in the running to get one of those officials, there are a few universities that seem like good bets to host him next fall.

"I know Stanford's definitely going to be an official visit and I really want to go up to Wake Forest," Jackson said. "I'm also looking at Auburn. I'm trying to check those guys out. I've been talking to the head coach at Auburn over Facebook lately and I'm really thinking about a trip to them as well."

So why Wake Forest, Auburn, and Stanford? We asked Jackson to elaborate on his interest in taking official visits to those three schools.

"Wake Forest is a private school with good academics." Jackson said. "They play in the ACC and that conference is open - anybody can win any year, and I really want a ring, whether it's a conference or national championship.

"Auburn has great athletes. They send a lot of people to the league and it's SEC football. It's kind of close, so my parents could come up a couple times a year and see me and also everybody else could get a chance to watch me on TV.

"Stanford is a tough academic institution. When you commit there you're not making a four-year decision, you're making a 40-year decision, really for the rest of your life. It's a great opportunity going out there and also they play Pac-10 football.

Jackson will have at least a few more months before he has to figure out which two schools will receive his remaining visits. At this point, Jackson doesn't see himself ending his recruitment until next December.

"I want to take all of my official visits really," Jackson said. "I don't want to make a decision without actually being present at the campuses and giving them a fair shot. So hopefully as soon as I take those five visits, I'll know which one I want to pick and hopefully that comes in December."

The Stanford coaches would like to see Jackson make a commitment sooner. With the Cardinal's 2010 recruiting class filling up at such a fast rate, the coaching staff is trying to gauge the interest level of one of the last few uncommitted priority recruits on the board.

"Almost every time I talk to the coaches, they're trying to book me some flight tickets to come up this summer," Jackson said. "They know once I see the place, most likely I'm going to verbally commit, and they don't want to turn me down if all the commitments fill up and there's no more spots. They said they'd hold it for me, but at the same time they want to make sure they're good on their word."

But with Jackson busy with a summer job and participating in camps, it doesn't look like he will get a chance to fly out to the Bay Area before next fall. With Stanford being so far away from his home in the St. Petersburg area, it is especially important that the 6'4, 215 pounder get a chance to get a feel for the Stanford campus to make sure he is comfortable attending a school on the West Coast. "At first I felt like distance wouldn't matter, but as I've come closer to making a decision, I've really taken a second look in seeing if I really want to go out to California," Jackson said. "I [think I'll know that] by the time I go out there for an official visit. Going across the country will be more difficult than going to say a UCF or a Florida – I've started to feel that lately."

Scout has yet to evaluate Jackson, but Rivals gives him three stars. He reports a 3.71 GPA and a 1620 three-part SAT score, which he believes will be high enough to help the future nutrition or sports management major get into Stanford.

"Coach Taggart said he went to Admissions to total my score and they said as long as I have at least a 500 in each part [of the three part SAT] I'm good to go, and I achieved that on this past SAT," Jackson said.

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