Things have been relatively quiet on the recruiting trail for the Florida Gators these days after a huge first half of the month, but that changed tonight with the commitment of four-star cornerback Ja’Keem Jackson.
Jackson, out of Osceola High School, chose Florida over Penn State, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He also had offers from Florida rivals Georgia, Miami, and FSU, as well as Michigan State, Louisville, South Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, and more.
You can watch his high school highlights here.
It’s clear to see on the tape that Ja’Keem Jackson has natural talent. He brings tremendous ball skills, physicality, and a large catch radius to the equation. But the biggest knock against him is also an impressive positive- he’s very raw as a defensive back, which is primarily due to the fact that he’s spent most of his football career as a wide receiver, but that also means he comes ready to offer tremendous versatility.
Raw as he may be, the physical attributes are undeniable. For starters, Ja’Keem Jackson is FAST. He was clocked at 4.5 seconds in the 40 yard dash, and he complements that with a tall, wiry frame (variously measured at either 6’1 or 6’2) and a natural willingness to get dirty and be physical. Because of his lack of experience on the defensive side of the ball, Ja’Keem Jackson will need to work a good bit on his technique.
Again, though, the promise is there. Tip of the cap goes to Corey Raymond for finding what may be a valuable diamond in the rough. Scouts say he’s been quick to learn the intricacies of pressing and jamming wide receivers at the line, and because of his natural agility, Jackson is also great at quickly flipping his hips. If Raymond is able to do what he’s done with countless defensive backs at LSU in his past, the potential is there.
The bottom line is that with more time in the secondary next season as a senior should come more familiarity with the ins and outs of playing defense, and in time he should develop into a serviceable starter for Florida.