September 15, 2017
Vernon Jackson, one of the more versatile prospects in the 2018 college football recruiting class, announced Friday he’s planning to attend Alabama.
Jackson made his choice of the Crimson Tide over SEC rival LSU public on Twitter:
Jackson is a 3-star prospect who’s rated as the No. 17 player under the athlete distinction in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports rankings. He’s also listed as the 54th-best recruit from the football-rich state of Texas in the group.
The biggest question is where the Boling High School standout will eventually fit in.
He’s gained valuable experience as a quarterback—playing a dual-threat role—and safety during his time with the Bulldogs. His 6’3” frame and high-end athleticism suggest his best bet for the long haul might be defensive end or outside linebacker, though.
If Jackson does switch to become a full-time edge-rusher at the collegiate level, the most important task in the coming years will be adding more power to his frame. He currently checks in at 240 pounds.
Last December, he told Angel Verdejo Jr. of the Houston Chronicle he liked the idea of leading an offense but wasn’t going to rule out anything for the future.
“I tell them I’m a quarterback, but in college I really don’t know where I’ll play,” Jackson said. “There’s something about quarterback that I like a lot.”
While Jackson does possess the raw tools to play quarterback, he would be a developmental project that could take several years to reach a starting spot. Playing defense would represent a quicker path to playing time and likely maximize his long-term football potential.
Ultimately, this is a terrific under-the-radar addition for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. Jackson isn’t one of the best prospects in the class, and his development will require some patience, but the potential is there for him to become a true high-impact player in the years ahead.
It will be intriguing to follow his path once he officially arrives on the Alabama campus. The initial decision will be whether to let him play multiple positions at the outset until something clicks or try to find him a permanent home right away and let him focus all his attention there.
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