Last year, UCLA got three players from JCC, and this year, the Bruins are back down there checking out a pair of prospects. One of those is linebacker Jacque Jackson (6-0, 210).
The Patriots are the top ranked team in Louisiana and ranked #13 in the USA Today National Poll, and Jackson has been anchoring the defense for JCC, who is in the State Quarterfinals this weekend.
"Anytime we need to drive ourselves, we just say '12-7' (the score in their semifinal loss last year) and it pushes us," said Jackson.
Last weekend, in JCC's playoff win over Plaquemine, UCLA running back coach Eric Bieniemy was in attendance to scout Jackson and teammate safety Devin Joseph.
"I had a pretty good game. I only had five tackles, but in our defense, the outside backers get most of the tackles and inside backers are the quarterbacks of the defense. Plus, we won pretty easily, so I didn't play a whole lot in the second half. But Coach Bieniemy said he really liked the way I played that night. I got him my highlight tape and he said he would give it to Coach (Larry) Kerr and that they wanted me to take an official trip there," said Jackson.
"I met Coach Bieniemy when he was recruiting down here for Colorado. Then when he went to UCLA he kept in contact with the school here. Devin's (Joseph) cousin is Vance Joseph, who coached at CU with Coach Bieniemy and that was his connection to our school. I took an unofficial visit to UCLA during their Spring Game."
"I like UCLA a lot," Jackson said. "If I committed early, UCLA would be the school."
When he unofficially visited UCLA, Jackson liked what he saw from head coach Karl Dorrell. "I really liked Coach Dorrell. He is focused and confident."
Jackson said the plethora of juniors and seniors in UCLA's linebacking rotation is what has caught his eye. "Spencer Havner, Justin London and Wesley Walker are all juniors and would be gone after next year. And they have a couple of seniors in the mix too. The chance to play early is there."
Plus, there is the factor of UCLA having three former teammates plus another pair of Bayou natives in Chris Markey and Chris Horton. "I talk to those guys all the time. In fact, we have a tradition at John Curtis where we practice on Thanksgiving Day, and all the former players come to the practice. So I'll see those three guys there this weekend. But I talk to them at UCLA a lot."
Jackson has a 3.5 GPA, scored a 20 on his ACT and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is qualified for college.