Tennessee had a number of visitors this weekend, and the most important visitor likely was top-10 recruit Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif., Junipero Serra High School), who came away so impressed that he may come back on an official visit.
The five-star cornerback had never been to Knoxville, but he had been flooded with support from the Volunteer faithful through social media on Twitter who have shown him a ton of love, but he needed to see it firsthand. The early results bode well for Jackson, who is ranked as the No. 2 cornerback in the nation, to make it back this fall on an official.
Jackson tells Ryan Callahan about his reaction to his first trip to Tennessee:
“It was just a great experience… I mean, I think it exceeded (the hype). It was just great to be here. I think the hype, it was worth it… The staff people and everything like that, they treated me well. It felt like a home welcoming, basically, like it was… I was just lost for words. ”
One big factor that could move Tennessee to the forefront for Jackson is Tennessee’s willingness to let him play wide receiver and cornerback. Some of his other pursuers like Florida may only want him on defense. Playing time is always a big factor for five-star recruits like Jackson, so playing time on both sides is a pitch in Tennessee’s favor.
Jackson has dominated the camp circuit and blown talent evaluators away with his ability as a wide receiver, and if he played there full time, he would be a five-star talent. I would love to see him play both ways in college, and he says he will be a part-time player on offense. Jackson has the skill-set and potential to develop into the next Charles Woodson or Champ Bailey as two-way stars and have an All-American career before stardom in the NFL.
A second factor that bodes well for Jackson is the proximity to his Belleville, Ill., roots, where he is originally from, and it is only a seven-hour drive to Knoxville. This is one reason why Illinois is one of his top schools and why many believe he will get far away from the west coast.
While playing time and proximity help Tennessee in the case for Jackson one thing that may hurt is the Volunteer track and field team where Jackson plans to compete in the long jump in addition to football. Tennessee’s track team is not necessarily considered elite like Florida or LSU, but Justin Gatlin, Willie Gault, Leonard Scott and Jonathan Wade are former track stars who could sell him on coming to Knoxville.
The eager Vol fans wanting a decision from the 5-foot-10, 182-pounder with 4.4 speed will have to be patient because the versatile athlete is not expected to make his college choice until signing day. However, with a little more than six months away until that day, Tennessee is looking good to get one of his five official visits and at minimum, have a 20 percent chance of getting his commitment.
After the welcome he received this weekend where he was treated with a round of applause, hugs and handshakes as if he were royalty, why wouldn’t he want to come back and spend the next three to four years there?
That is one of the many things that will run through Jackson’s mind as he takes more visits and ponders his decision in February, but Tennessee did all they could do and more this weekend and should feel extremely confident.