Jackson Counting Down the Days

After a year layoff, the UCLA committed defensive end from College of the Canyons (Calif.), Marquis Jackson, is eager to be in Westwood by spring...

Marquis Jackson is counting down the days until the spring.

Set to be done with his JC classes in March, Jackson is hoping to enroll at UCLA in time for Spring Practice.

That will put Jackson back on the field, after sitting out the 2009 season to preserve an extra year.

Jackson earned JC All-American honors in 2008 at College of the Canyons, but chose to sit out 2009 so he could have three seasons to play at UCLA, instead of the normal two that Juco's usually have.

"It was extremely difficult, it sucks to sit out the year, you have no idea," said Jackson. "But it was the best thing and I had to do it as a grown man, and make a grown man decision. Now I'm getting back, I've been training for a little bit and I'm in tip-top shape. There is nothing like the real thing though and I missed it."

Jackson has been at L.A. Southwest College finishing up his work to get his A.A. so he can enroll for spring, taking extra classes to fit in that valuable time.

Earlier this month, Jackson took his official visit to UCLA, where he committed to during the summer.

"That trip was cool and it was fun," said Jackson. "I got to chill with Milton and DC (Milton Knox and Donovan Carter, his former Birmingham teammates) and got to ask questions about the school. Then we went and chilled with Coach (Rick) Neuheisel at his house and that house is gorgeous. I've been up there a lot, but this was really for my mom to see it."

Jackson committed to Fresno State out of high school, and officially visited the Bulldogs two years ago, but he said this visit was by far the better.

"I'd only been to Fresno State but this one really made me feel wanted," said Jackson. "Being recruited at the D-I level, you hear about the visits, but there is nothing like seeing all the people. It was cool, I really liked it."

Jackson was hosted by Carter, his longtime friend.

"Just to see him and chill with him and Milton, and have fun and all that, was really good," said Jackson.

With Carter often discussed as a potential defensive tackle, Jackson said it would be cool to potentially line up next to the player he lined up in front of as part of the vaunted Patriots defense in 2007.

"I think personally he could do it but it would be weird to see him right there next to me with his hand down," said Jackson. "I helped him get all his tackles in high school, so now he can help me get some."

Jackson knows with Korey Bosworth's graduation, one of the defensive end spots is open opposite Datone Jones.

"That's why I'm planning to do spring practice, I'm on track to do so and be done with my schooling in mid-February. I'm hoping to get in there by spring and really establish myself and make it known I want to play and start," said Jackson. "I've been out for a year, and now I'm hungrier than ever. I'm going to pick up right where I left off and times that by 20 and then dominate. I've worked too hard not to."

Jackson said he talked with several of the coaches on his visit.

"I talked with Coach (Chuck) Bullough, Coach (Rick) Neuheisel, Coach (Angus) McClure and Coach (Todd) Howard," said Jackson. "We talked a lot, mostly on the defense side of things. I talk with Coach Hoard by e-mail a lot too."

Jackson's brother, Malik, is a candidate to start at USC next fall, and he said while he got some early overtures from the Trojans, he's made it clear he's sticking to UCLA.

"They pretty much know I'm going to UCLA. They know I'm not changing and they ain't trying to do that and get me to switch. I'm not trying to go to SC. I've been with Malik for 18 years, I don't need any more," he joked.

Jackson didn't get to sign a LOI in 2008, so he's eager to finally put pen to paper in two weeks.

"Man, I can't wait," said Jackson. "I can't wait to just sign and move in, and start a new life, you have no idea. Taking a year off has been torture."

And he's looking forward to locking heads with the Trojans and have the crosstown rivalry become a sibling rivalry.

"We'll get the sibling rivalry going and get L.A. heaped up," said Jackson. "I keep telling Malik, UCLA is coming back but I don't know about USC. It's going be a switcharoo here down the road."

Jackson is one of three Bruin commits in the class of 2010 who have brother's at USC, joining Malcolm Jones (Marshall is a USC safety) and Tevin McDonald (T.J. McDonald is also a USC safety).


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