Jackson Excited for New Possibilities

The Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair offensive tackle, Darryl Jackson, may have a new opportunity closer to home, after expecting to spend his college years in the Lone Star State...

When we first spoke with Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair offensive tackle Darryl Jackson (6-7, 305), it was during December of his junior year, and he was working to qualify and potentially be a late signee.

That ended up happening with SMU, and Jackson had left his Southern California home and moved to Texas to play for June Jones and the Mustangs.

But after moving to Dallas, and qualifying by NCAA standards, Jackson was denied admission by SMU.

Given the option to go to a JC part time and appeal and work to get back in, Jackson decided for a fresh start and returned back home to California.

The SMU coaches, upset that he wasn't allowed into to school, but feeling like they owed it to Jackson to help find him a place to land, got in contact with coaches at UCLA.

"Coach (Adrian) Klemm talked to one of the coaches at UCLA and told them about me and then I started talking with UCLA," said Jackson. "I've been talking a lot with Coach (Rick) Neuheisel himself and with Coach (Bob) Palcic and now UCLA is looking like it's a good possibility and could be my future school."

In the meantime, Jackson is enrolled at Fullerton (Calif.) College, taking two classes in math and English, and has been told by the UCLA coaches that if he gets passing marks, he'll have a spot at UCLA for the spring.

"Since I qualified, I'm ok there, but Coach Neuheisel told me that if I get the right grades, they have a scholarship for me and I can come in January," said Jackson.

Jackson met with Neuheisel and Palcic on Tuesday morning and they reiterated their stance to him.

"I'm going to practice today and I've been spending a lot of time there. I'm pretty much down to them and Oregon State, but UCLA is looking really good," said Jackson. "It's amazing how things all work out."

Jackson said he was disappointed with how things ended with SMU; he'd already set himself on playing for the resurgent Mustangs. But now the possibility of playing for a school he grew up watching, in his own backyard, excites him.

"It's been a real crazy ride, just seeing where you fit," said Jackson. "UCLA wasn't a possibility a while ago, but now I could find myself playing for them. What kid from Southern California doesn't grow up wanting to play for UCLA or USC? UCLA fits all of my criteria."

Louisiana Tech and New Mexico as well as Texas Tech all made a push for Jackson, but he decided to return home to California and pursue schools on the West Coast.

"I know coming back here, I'll be at a school where I'm comfortable," said Jackson. "Right now, it's looking more and more like UCLA."

Jackson said he wasn't jaded by what happened with SMU, but he's more cautionary this time around.

"I'm making sure I'm getting everything in writing," said Jackson. "Of course, I have to adhere to my part of the bargain. Both of the sides have to put in the work."

Jackson said UCLA is looking at him like an offensive tackle, and everything works out accordingly, he'll be enrolled in time for spring football.

"It's almost a dream come true that kind of worked out, but we'll wait till everything is set," said Jackson. "But Coach Neuheisel and Coach Palcic said I should know something real soon."

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