November 20, 2011

Jackson visit 'eventful'



Junior College prospects all over the country are finding themselves in a unique situation.

Many of them plan to in January, but with only a few weeks left in the fall semester, these prospects are rushing to take their final visits before making the all-important decision about where to play their college ball.

Scottsdale C.C. (Scottsdale, Ariz.) tight end Blake Jackson found himself in that exact situation as he took an official visit to Georgia to see the Bulldogs clinch the SEC Eastern Division title against Kentucky.

The visit to Athens was Jackson's first to the Classic City, and the trip was an eventful one.

"The first day I had a chance to spend time with Coach (Mark) Richt as he got ready for the game. It gave me a chance to get a feel for the program," said Jackson. "Day 2 was really busy. I got to see how they stress academics and I saw them clinch the SEC East and that was awesome."

While Jackson had a great time with the planned events on the trip, he really connected with his host, Sterling Bailey.

"Sterling was my host, and we got along great," he said. "After the game on Saturday we all had a great dinner then I just hung with Sterling and we had a great time.

Jackson has had plenty of communication with the Georgia coaching staff, and tight ends coach John Lilly in particular, but this weekend was an opportunity was a chance for him to learn where the Bulldogs feel he can fit in the program.

"We looked at how they use Orson Charles as a big-time threat as a tight end and they feel like they can use me that way," said Jackson. "They feel I am versatile enough to split out at receiver and play in some double tight end sets to create mismatches."

Although most tight ends enjoy catching passes, they are also relied upon to be effective blockers in the run game.

According to Jackson, the UGA coaching staff believes the 6-foot-4 235 pounder is plenty capable to help them in that capacity.

"Coach Lilly really likes my effort as a blocker and likes how I'm not afraid to put a hat on somebody," he said.

With only a few hours to reflect on the visit, Jackson knows that he needs some time for the visit to "sink in" before he can make any bold statements, but he was not at all hesitant to give his trip to Georgia high marks.

"I would rate the visit a 10 really. It was great," he said. "Arkansas was great too, so I would rate it right up there with Arkansas. This visit is so new that I don't want to name a leader coming off this high, but it was really great."

As an early enrollee, Jackson will need to make a decision soon, but despite the fact that he has a little over a month to decide, he is still in no hurry.

"I plan on making a decision in the middle of December, but I might decide sooner or later. It just depends on how things go," he said. "I have one more visit to Oklahoma State when they play Oklahoma, and I'll decide sometime after that."

Jackson's father resides in the Atlanta area, and while that is not a determining factor in his decision, he will be the first to say that it doesn't hurt.

"It would be great for my dad to be able to come and see my games. It would be awesome," said Jackson. "But I'm just looking for the best place for me."

While he has no leader at this time, the JUCO tight end does have a message for those following his recruiting.

"I can say that I'm just really feeling good about Georgia right now," he said. "I know that."

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