(Photo via Amir Jackson, twitter.)
Saturday, June 17, 2023 will be remembered as one of the wildest days in Florida Gators recruiting history.
It did not start off particularly well for the Florida Gators Not only did Florida QB commit Austin Simmons not reclassify to the Gators’ 2023 recruiting class as reports had been indicating, he won’t be a Florida Gator at all thanks to some all-time recruiting weirdness that was capped off in grand style by Simmons’ father publicly stating that his son would not be going to Florida because- at least in part- “the schedule was too tough.“. That triggered some alarm bells.
But almost immediately following the announcement of Simmons’ flip, the tide shifted, and a chain of commitments that Gator fans won’t soon forget was set in motion.
It started with the commitment of consensus four-star tight end Amir Jackson (Portal, GA/Portal HS). That gave Florida tight ends coach Russ Callaway his first commitment as a full-time Florida assistant coach, and gave the Gators a tight end in their 2024 class after former tight ends coach William Peagler didn’t sign one in the 2023 class. Jackson chose the Gators over more than a dozen other Power Five programs that offered him, including Alabama, Auburn, Miami, Georgia, Tennessee, FSU, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, and Virginia Tech.
You can watch his highlights here.
Perhaps the biggest thing to note about Amir Jackson is that he is an extremely versatile athlete. He’s a dual-sport athlete in high school, averaging thirteen points and nine and a half rebounds for Portal’s high school team, and that athleticism is on display throughout his highlight tape. He’s got all the traits you want in a pass-catching tight end: he can go up and get the football in traffic, he’s a chore to bring down in the open field at 6’4, 223, and is quick on his feet and can beat most linebackers tasked with covering him when he goes out for a pass.
That’s the type of impact Amir Jackson is going to be counted on to make at Florida. He was recruited by Florida’s staff to make an impact as a pass-catcher, and he’s got the skill set to do it.
So far, Amir Jackson has put those skills to good use at the high school level. In his last two seasons at Portal High School Jackson caught 42 passes for 710 yards and five scores. He also rushed 33 times for 188 yards and another touchdown on the ground. Further proving his versatility as an athlete, he played a large number of snaps on defense, too, logging 94 tackles over the past two seasons.
Jackson was on campus in Gainesville this weekend for his official visit, the third consecutive weekend that Florida hosted a monster visitor list of recruits. Unlike the last two weekends, though, this one was quite a fruitful one.
With the addition of Amir Jackson and the other three commits Florida would end the day with- LB Aaron Chiles, DL Amaris Williams, and DL Nasir Johnson- all of whom are consensus four-star recruits- the Gators’ 2024 recruiting class- which is headlined by five star QB commits DJ Lagway– vaulted up to #8 in the 247Sports Composite rankings and #3 in the On3 rankings (which factors the caliber of players committed more and the amount of players committed less than the 247Sports rankings).