Over the past three years we've seen more and more early verbal commits and even many of those who don't make an early verbal commit, have a short list of schools they have more interest in than others. With Jackson Jeffcoat, that is not the case.
"Right now, we're not discussing stuff like that," said Jim Jeffcoat when asked if his son had more interest in some schools more than others. "We're going to take an unofficial visit to USC this summer and we'll evaluate it after that. We're in the information gathering stage and we're trying to get information on various schools. We just want to see what each school has to offer Jackson and also what each football program has to offer."
USC has made great efforts to get as many top prospects to attend one of its summer camps, especially the Rising Stars Camp at the end of June. Jeffcoact was asked if Jackson had plans to attend USC's Rising Stars Camp?
"Right now we haven't finalized our summer plans, but there is a possibility he will be at the Rising Stars Camp," said Jeffcoat. "We're going to have to sit down with Jackson and decide when he's going to take some trips. He's also playing on the AAU Basketball Circuit, so we need to work around that schedule also."
Jeffcoat said USC will not be the only school Jackson visits while on the West Coast.
"We're also going to go to UCLA while we're in L.A.," Jeffcoat said. "And then we're going to Cal and Stanford. We're going to try and visit those schools in a two to three day period while we're in California. Then we're going to hit some schools on the East Coast, because we have quite a bit of family on the East Coast. So, we're going to hit Florida, Georgia and Rutgers, because I'm originally from New Jersey."
Although Jeffcoat has a solid friendship with Ken Norton, that is not the only reason the Jeffcoats will travel to Los Angeles to visit USC.
"Ken Norton Jr. and I played together with the Dallas Cowboys for five years, actually," said Jeffcoact about his relationship with Norton, USC's linebackers coach. "I consider Ken a very good friend and I have known him for quite a while. I played in the Pac-10 at Arizona State, so obviously I played against SC and it's always been a quality program. For Jackson, my wife and I, academics are important, and we know USC also has quality academics. Jackson is a good student and already qualified, and he wants to be at a quality academic school wherever he chooses."
Jim Jeffcoat mentioned the importance of Jackson attending a quality school and obtaining a solid education as a huge factor in choosing a school. But every elite prospect in the country envisions playing as a true freshman and the opportunity for that to happen is another important aspect in Jackson Jeffcoat's eventual decision on a school. But it's not the only aspect he's looking for in a football program.
"Well, obviously the opportunity to play early," said Jeffcoat about one of the aspects of a football program Jackson is looking for. "Jackson's goal is to play early and to have an opportunity for quality coaching. All of the schools we are looking at have quality coaches. I don't want his high school years to be the best years of his playing career, I want him to continue to grow as a player and a person. So, that's important for my wife and myself for him to be in the right environment. All of those things are going to be under consideration."
With the May evaluation period in full swing, college coaches are making their way to the high school campuses of their priority recruits. For some, it can be intimidating knowing a dozen or more college coaches are watching them workout on the football field. Jim Jeffcoat said that won't be an issue for his son.
"He's the ultimate competitor and he loves to compete," said Jeffcoat. "All he's worried about is going out there and getting better every day. I know my son and he's not going to be concerned who is out there looking at him."
One of the coaches who will more than likely be stopping by Plano West High will be newly rehired USC defensive line coach, Jethro Franklin. Another USC coach Jim Jeffcoat knows very well.
"I coached in the NFL, too, so I know Jethro," said Jeffcoat. "I know Jethro from when he was at Green Bay and obviously with the Texans. So, I know Jethro and I know he is a very good coach. I also knew him when he was in Tampa."
It seemed like every name that was mentioned during our interview with Jim Jeffcoat, brought a response from him that he knew the person. Not surprisingly, Jeffcoact also knows the father of one of USC's elite 2009 signees, Devon Kennard.
"I know Derek (Kennard) and we actually won Superbowls at Dallas," said Jeffcoat. "But each situation is different for each child. What might be good for one kid, might not be for another. I just know one thing, I'm not going to put any pressure on Jackson and when he decides on a school, it is going to be his decision.
"I want to make sure Jackson enjoys his senior season and can focus on school, football and other activities seniors in high school enjoy. When he's ready to make a decision on a school, everyone will know."