As national signing day approached last month, Justin Jackson felt the pressure from different schools.
A defensive end from Northwest Mississippi Community College, Jackson had committed to Colorado in June, but picked up several other scholarship offers after that. Most notably, West Virginia tried to pry him away from the Buffaloes.
“Colorado, they’ve been my first decision since I went on my (official visit), and I just stuck with it,” said Jackson, who signed his letter of intent on Dec. 18. “I know West Virginia came late in my recruitment and they wanted to change my mind, but my heart was always with Colorado. I’m glad to be a Buff.”
The Buffs are glad, too, and Jackson will officially join the team when he enrolls in school this month.
“I’m super excited,” he said. “I’m ready to start a new chapter in my book and get used to being away from my family. I’m just excited to start something new with coach Tucker.”
Getting Jackson to sign was a win for head coach Mel Tucker and his staff, which knew they’d have to fight for Jackson.
“It was a battle, not just here towards the end, but all the way through to deal with him because he’s a good player,” Tucker said in December. “Everybody else wants the same guys (as Colorado), too, but he saw the culture; he felt it. He saw the vision, and he wanted to be a part of it. He’s all in with us and we’re all in with him, and it was like that from the very beginning. (Defensive line coach) Jimmy Brumbaugh did a great job in his recruitment.”
In 20 games at NWCC, Jackson recorded 44 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. As a sophomore this past fall, he had 8.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles.
At 6-foot-2, 280 pounds, Jackson fits right in with CU’s efforts to increase the talent, depth and size on the defensive line.
“He’s a really good player and he has a skill set that we need,” Tucker said. “He’s got a really good quickness and he has the ability to hold up in the run game, but he’s got inside pass rush ability and we all know that we need that.”
CU isn’t the only school in need of that type of skill set. Jackson also had offers from Auburn, Houston, Memphis, Southern Mississippi and other schools.
As his recruitment began heating up last spring and summer, Jackson took a heavy class load so he could graduate in December and enroll at a new school in January.
“It was a lot of work, but life is hard and you’ve got to learn how to get through those tough battles,” he said.
Now, he’s excited for his next battle, at CU.
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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports