"That was her dream school as a little kid," Nesha Jackson said. "She was getting a lot of offers but after visiting and talking to the coaches, she felt like that was where she needed to be. She always watched Candace Parker, and she watched UT as a child growing up.
The Lady Vols had been watching Jackson, a 5-10 guard from Blackman High School for awhile, with head coach Holly Warlick making a trip just last week to see her.
Jackson and her parents took a trip to Knoxville on Saturday, watched a practice, took in the men's game, toured campus and talked to the coaches. Jackson committed in the car before making it back home to Middle Tennessee.
"I wanted to play for UT since I was little," said "MeMe" Jackson, who was recruited by the entire Lady Vols staff. "Talking to the coaches confirmed what I wanted to hear. I want to be there. The fans there are amazing."
Once Jackson realized that Tennessee absolutely wanted her in orange, she made the decision to commit nearly on the spot.
"I am positive," Jackson said of her decision.
The Lady Vols are getting an athletic guard with speed who can get to the rim, rebound and defend. Jackson has a college frame and a mind-set to compete – think Glory Johnson and Alexis Hornbuckle – so she fits the mold of the quintessential Tennessee player, the type that Warlick seems to be recruiting lately.
"When I walk on the floor, it's all go," Jackson said. "I don't like to lose, and I am the type of player to go hard every play. I am an aggressive player."
Jackson has the rest of her junior season and her senior year before enrolling in college. She said she wants to improve her entire game – and that was why she picked Tennessee.
"That is why I want to go there – they are going to teach me all of the stuff I don't know yet," Jackson said.
Meanwhile, Jackson will work to improve her left hand, move more without the ball and keep her motor revving at all times on the court.
Her skill set is tailored for Tennessee – she is a rebounding guard with a quick first step who can get to the paint. She also can keep the ball handler in front of her and will box out.
"I like defense," she said. "I love it, actually. I will hit the boards from the guard position. I will go for the loose ball, do the dirty work. I have a lot of heart."
The added good news is that Jackson could also serve as a rainmaker of sorts. Two of her high school teammates also are on Tennessee's recruiting list – 5-5 point guard Crystal Dangerfield and 6-4 post Jasmine Bonds. Both are in the Class of 2016 and will be getting an earful from Jackson.
Dangerfield and Jackson have played together for years.
"I am going to talk to her," Jackson said. "I have been playing with her for so long. We've got a special connection. We have a bond together. It's amazing. We know how each other plays. We play with each other during the summertime."
Bonds will also hear from Jackson.
"I'll be working on Jas, too," she said. "I love Jas. I will bring them all up."
It was a quick one-day trip but well worth it for the Jacksons.
"I am so proud of her," Nesha Jackson said. "She is really content with her decision, and I can tell that a weight has been lifted off of her making that decision. She is happy with it, so I am just excited. I am very excited for her. I feel like she is really going to fit in well there."
Since Blackman High School uses orange, the Jacksons have that color in their wardrobe, but they will be shopping for Tennessee orange, too.
"We are going to be wearing a lot of orange," Nesha Jackson said.