When Jonathan Jackson mulls through his options with Signing Day looming, he still has a hard time believing he has so much to choose from.
"I grew up just playing around the way, in the streets," Jackson said. "I didn't ever think I would be here right now, so it's a blessing and a big shock. My coach told me (when I was younger) I could play college football, but I thought he was just talking. Then my junior year, I got a couple of scholarship offers – Boston College and Wake Forest – and then I said, `Okay, I guess I can play Division I."
Now Jackson just has to decide where. The 6-1, 185-pound defensive back from Catholic High School in West Philadelphia (Pa.) will take his final official visit to Penn State on January 17. He has already visited Minnesota, Syracuse and Wisconsin.
Jackson said he's having a hard time deciding what to do, but he will definitely check out Happy Valley before he makes any decisions.
"I will visit Penn State and then make comparisons from there," Jackson said. "I don't have any favorites. I'm just trying to feel everything out right now."
Jackson said his three main factors are the environment, academics and playing time. He is basing his decision primarily on the football program and campus because he doesn't know what he will major in yet.
But the most important thing is where he feels most comfortable.
"One thing I keep asking myself is, could I be here for four years if I get hurt?" Jackson said. "That's something that's really important to me."
Jackson said he grew up never having a favorite team, so he doesn't feel loyalties to any school and distance will not be a factor. He has friends and family pulling him in different directions, but ultimately the decision will be completely in his hands.
"I don't dislike any of the schools," Jackson said. "They are all just so much alike that it's so hard to make a decision."
He did enjoy his visit to Wisconsin Dec. 20, when he had a chance to sit down with Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove and talk about the Badgers' plans for him.
"They are saying I'll be a strong safety or free safety, either one," Jackson said. "They said they need people to come in and make plays and lead the defense. They've even been talking about playing me as a true freshman. That's really their main point."
Jackson said he will make his decision sometime after his trip to Penn State, but he does not have a specific date set to make an announcement.
Jonathan Jackson Sorting Through His Options
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