Size Matters

With a new offensive system and a mostly new offensive coaching staff, West Virginia is targeting bigger offensive linemen. One of those is an Ohio tackle with recent interest in the Mountaineer program.

Brandon Jackson, who was previously committed to Ohio, had an in-home visit from the Mountaineers coaching staff on Saturday and switched his verbal commitment to WVU. He will make an official visit to West Virginia this coming weekend.

"Coach Bedenbaugh talked to my high school coach, Rick Finotti, and he told him he was interested in me," Jackson said of the switch to West Virginia. "It happened pretty quickly. "We have been talking over the last week, and when he visited he made an offer and I accepted it.

Coach Bedenbaugh told me he he believes West Virginia can win championships -- national championships. That's a goal of mine too. I want to win. He told me that West Virginia is a good opportunity and a good stage to play on. He said the people of West Virginia love their athletic programs, and that was good to hear."

Jackson hadn't gotten any interest from West Virginia prior to Bedenbaugh's arrival. In fact, he hadn't received any offers from BCS schools, which puzzled him a bit.

"I waited and was looking for a BCS-level offer, but I hadn't gotten any," he said of the recruiting process, so West Virginia's offer was a surprise for me. It was disappointing that I didn't get any other offers, because I feel like I have the talent to compete at a high level. I went to several camps over the summer, and felt like I held my own there. I didn't get any explanation as to why I didn't get any offers, but some coaches told me they wanted to watch my senior season and see how I performed. I thought I did well, but the offers never came."

While he didn't show any anger over that lack, Jackson is determined to show other schools that they missed out on a player that can play at the top level of collegiate football.

" It is a driving factor for me," he said of being passed over by some schools. It's a great motivator for me to work hard and prove that I can play there. I work at a workout facility and will follow West Virginia's workout plan once I get it, and I want to show that I can do it."

Bedenbaugh watched Jackson's film, and according to the St. Edward's lineman, saw qualities that will fit in West Virginia's offense, which spreads the field. While St. Edward's ran the ball a good deal, Jackson said that was more by choice than necessity.

"We had a balanced offense," he explained. "We chose to run the ball more, but we didn't have to throw it. We had great receivers and a great quarterback, so we could throw it when we needed to. I feel like I am improving as a run blocker, and I'm a good pass blocker. I feel like my best football is ahead of me."

An offensive lineman since he began playing in the eighth grade, Jackson participated on a high line that was only slightly smaller than those of the Cleveland Browns and Ohio State Buckeyes. That size, which was also a flag for Bedenbaugh, led the Mountaineers to make an offer.

"I hadn't talked to West Virginia before, but when Coach Bedenbaugh saw my film he said he really liked me. He is projecting me as a guard at West Virginia, and I have played there and at tackle. I played against some great defensive ends this year while at tackle, so I think I have the speed and agility to play at guard. I will emphasize my speed work this spring."

Jackson, who anticipates no problems in qualifying, last checked in at six feet, four inches and 325 pounds while running a 5.3 40-yard dash. He plans to major in journalism.

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