A southpaw pitcher with pinpoint control? Forget about it. They get gobbled up in a hurry.
"They were happy," Jackson told InsideTennessee.com. "They were excited about what I said and what we talked about. They're ready for me to come down there for a visit and stuff like that."
The native of McDonough, Ga., originally started talking about coming to Big Orange Country with volunteer assistant Gregg Wallis. Serrano then got into the conversation with Jackson and his parents and the rest is history.
"I had offers from other DI schools but that really didn't matter to me," Jackson said. "Once I started talking to Tennessee, I started to really get into them. When they put their offer on the table, I didn't worry about the other schools anymore."
Jackson played in a tournament at Lindsey Nelson Stadium back in June and fell in love with what Tennessee has to offer from a facility standpoint. He has also seen Mississippi State and South Carolina.
"Theirs are pretty nice too but the one thing about Tennessee is the field. Tennessee is probably one of the best fields I've ever played on. Facility-wise, it was a wowing moment," Jackson said.
He said he will ink his National Letter of Intent with the Volunteers on Nov. 9. When that happens, Tennessee will get one of the more dynamic amateur baseball players from the state of Georgia.
Jackson is a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder with upside oozing from his pores. When on the mound, he carves up batters by changing speeds and with an accurate fastball that sits in the 84-86 range. At the dish, he has a selective eye and a simple stroke that could result in more power as he fills out and learns to utilize his midsection and lower half.
|Tennessee baseball coach Dave Serrano was pleased to hear of Jackson's commitment.|
"Two-way, I love both of them," he said. "When I was little, I just played outfield. Then, when my arm started getting better probably when I was 14, I realized 'Hey, I've got something going here.' I really started to work both as a pitcher and an outfielder.
"Once I started talking to Tennessee, they were like I could be both ways and that was a really really big plus, a real big plus."
Jackson admitted he doesn't try to overpower bats when tossing the pill.
"I'm not a power guy because I use my change-up as much as anything. I'm a strikeout pitcher but my strikeout pitch is my change-up. I don't use my fastball to strike out guys," said Jackson, whose change piece is a circle that he learned from his father.
He grew up playing basketball as well but hung up his sneakers after eighth grade even though his parents were talented roundballers.
In the spring, Jackson will take the field for Luella High School, which eliminated South Cobb and Camden County in the GHSA Class AAAAA state tournament before falling to eventual champion Parkview in the quarterfinals.
"We're pretty good. We've made it to the Elite Eight the last couple years," Jackson said.
After his prep days at Luella are complete, the only thing standing between Jackson and Knoxville will be the likely option of playing professional baseball.
"I'm going to be excited, I'm not going to lie," he said. "But, really right now I'm just going to focus on my grades and school. Being drafted is a goal for me in my life, but my first goal is to get a really good scholarship. I was very happy when I accomplished my first goal in getting a scholarship with UT."
Jackson spent the summer playing with one of the better teams in Georgia —the Atlanta Blue Jays. They have produced talent like former No. 1 overall pick Tim Beckham of the Tampa Bay Rays organization and Jay Austin, who went No. 56 overall to the Houston Astros. Both players were selected in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
Atlanta's coach thinks highly of Jackson's talent.
"He's definitely a pro prospect," Blue Jays coach Anthony Dye said. "A lot of pro teams are interested in him. He's going to the top two showcases in America in the East Coast Pro and the Area Code Games. With pro teams, 50 percent of them are looking at him as a pitcher. The other 50 percent are looking at him as an outfielder. He's a 6.7 runner. So, he runs slightly above average. Big kid. Power."
Pro scouts from all over the country will get a chance to see Jackson and several other talented players at those showcases in Lakeland, Fla., and Long Beach, Calif.
Jackson said his current GPA is 3.4 and he plans on taking the ACT in September. He narrowed down his list of a potential major to criminal justice, computer science or sports management.