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July 8, 2005

Clemson lands state's top kicker, Jackson commits

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Clemson's in-state momentum continued Friday evening, as Greer - Riverside kicker/punter Richard Jackson ended his recruiting, pledging to inside linebackers coach David Blackwell. The pledge, as first reported by Tigerillustrated.com, becomes the sixth for Clemson this season, and the fifth from an in-state prospect.

Clemson already has the state's top defensive back in North Charleston - Ft. Dorchester athlete Byron Maxwell, the state's top linebacker in Gaffney's Julius Wilkerson, the state's top defensive lineman in Bamberg-Ehrhardt's Ricky Sapp and the state's top quarterback in Greer - Riverside's Michael Wade.

The commitment is also the fourth for Blackwell who landed Wilkerson, Wade and Morris, IL defensive end Jamie Cumbie.

Jackson, rated by Tigerillustrated.com as the state's No. 1 kicker and No. 9 prospect overall regardless of position, was 8-of-11 in field goals last season with a long of 50 yards, while also averaging 44 yards per punt.

The fully qualified prospect, who ended his junior year with a 3.56 GPA and a 1210 on the SAT, is the first kicker to be taken by the Clemson coaching staff since Greenwood's Jad Dean jumped on board in 2003. Dean was also the state's top kicker that year, choosing Clemson over offers from Georgia, Florida State and LSU.

Jackson, whose mother and father graduated from Clemson, is taken by Clemson as a kicker and a punter.

"I called coach (Tommy) Bowden and coach Blackwell tonight and told them I was coming. I told them I was ready to run down the hill with them," said Jackson late Friday night. "I think coach Blackwell was getting ready to go to the beach. He's leaving Saturday. We're actually leaving in a few minutes. We were going to leave for Charleston around 5pm, but because I've been here working on my decision all evening, we haven't been able to leave. But we're leaving in a few minutes, and I'm just glad this is behind me."

Jackson, who earlier this summer had contemplated an unofficial visit to Southern Cal, said Friday he was done with his trips. "I'm finished with my recruiting. The recruiting process is over for me. I know that Clemson is where I would be happiest, and I know that it's where I want to be for the next four years. I've been around Clemson my entire life, and when it came down to it, I couldn't pass down a chance to play at Clemson for four years. I'm going to focus on my senior season now, and then I'll enroll at Clemson next year. I'm just looking forward to carrying on the tradition of Clemson football and helping us be as good as we can be."

Clemson verbal commitments to date
1. Jamie Cumbie (DL 6-7, 255) Morris, IL
2. Byron Maxwell (CB 6-1, 185) North Charleston - Ft. Dorchester.
3. Ricky Sapp (DL 6-5, 225) Bamberg-Ehrhardt.
4. Michael Wade (QB 6-2, 187) Greer - Riverside.
5. Julius Wilkerson (LB 6-3, 200) Gaffney.
6. Richard Jackson (K/P 5-11, 185) Greer - Riverside.

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