The competition for 2014 Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra cornerback, Adoree Jackson got more streamlined over the weekend when the talented youngster announced via twitter his ten favorites: Florida, Florida State, Illinois, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, UCLA, and USC. The battle amongst those programs should intensify even more in the coming weeks as they each jockey for position on his visit schedule. Michigan has been angling for a spot on that itinerary for months. Now it appears that persistence will be rewarded.
“I’m actually going back home to Illinois in July,” Jackson reported. “By the time I get back home (the Michigan coaches) said they get back in the office in July. So at the end of July I should be there for a visit.”
“I doubt I’m going to be able to make it to all those schools (for unofficials). I’m just trying to visit the local ones… Michigan, Notre Dame, Illinois and Tennessee. That’s pretty much the local ones that I can get to. I doubt I will get all the way around. I’m not even planning on doing all that. I just want to enjoy my little break while I can and if times allows, I’ll go see the schools.”
That trip plan is great news for the Wolverines who are building up an impressive roster of visitors for their annual Barbecue at the Big House. The informal recruiting event would be Jackson’s first in-person glimpse at a program he has viewed from afar for as long as he can remember.
“I’m from the Midwest and I grew up knowing about Michigan,” he stated. “Desmond Howard and what he was able to do with the ball and stuff. It’s a traditional program and when you grow up in the Midwest, you grow up hearing about Michigan.”
The coaching staff in Ann Arbor has made it a point to remind him of those Midwest roots every chance it gets. Their efforts thus far have definitely made an impression.
“Actually, they were (at Junipero Serra on May 29th),” Jackson recalled. “I didn’t really get to see them. I was in class. I didn’t get to talk to them, but I saw it was Coach Mattison and Coach Ferrigno with my head coach talking it up with him.”
“(Ferrigno) is real chill and relaxed. (Talking with him) is not forced or anything, and it’s not always about recruiting. We just talk about anything. That’s basically what the vibe is with him. Coach Mattison is a very funny guy. He jokes around. We always have jokes and talk football and stuff like that. That’s one of the great things to have been there and did what he had to do when he coached in the league and coached some of the best ever. Then to come back (to Michigan)… it’s nice to have somebody there like that.”
Mattison’s NFL track record is but one of the attributes that has commanded Jackson’s attention. He has also taken note of the heralded recruiting class the Wolverines are assembling, especially in the aftermath of the addition of Paramus Catholic star, Jabrill Peppers.
"(Jabrill being at Michigan) is appealing because you already have one lockdown player already there. Like he said, he wants somebody on the other side that can lock it down as well. We're two God-given talented athletes... very gifted, and we can do many things, and we go after the ball. That's rare that you have two great dominant corners. That's appealing.”
Turns out that the two five-star prospects began forging a connection well before Peppers pledged to the Maize & Blue.
“Actually, I remember we were talking about Michigan a while ago. It is kind of funny that he actually committed. I didn’t know he was going to commit this early. We actually talked about it… this was in April. We talked to each other to see what was up, and then after that we stopped talking about recruiting as much. He committed and I started texting him (last Wednesday). He was right back on it recruiting. Drake (Harris) as well. He hit me up (last Wednesday). It is kind of crazy.”
Contact between Jackson and a number of Wolverine commits increased over the past week, and while the growth of those relationships is a positive for the Maize & Blue, it hasn’t made Michigan his leader. There is a great deal of other criteria that must be evaluated before he is ready to anoint a favorite.
“I’ve talked to many coaches (about playing offense), Coach Hoke being one of them,” he said. “He talked to me about having me use the ball on offense and special teams. He likes what I do with the ball in my hands. If it was up to me I would play offense and defense. If I get the chance to get the ball I’m trying to score.”
“(Another) big factor would be the type of players that are there. I want it to be that we’re all on the same page… same mindset. I want to be surrounded by good people. (I’ll also look at) the background of the school. I don’t want to go to a school that hasn’t won a national championship. History does repeat itself, so I want to have a good background and go to a place that has already done it. (Also) have a great coaching staff who knows what they’re doing, that has coached in the league, played the game, and deals with the best of the best so I know they know what they’re talking about. And have a good relationship with them. After that it would be academics. That’s one of the hot things. Just make sure that it is a great academic school so after I am done playing I just can fall back on my degree. Track is another thing that is going to play a factor.”
The desire to also compete on the track will be one of the topics of discussion when he makes his way to Ann Arbor next month. Should he wind up committing to Michigan somewhere down the line Jackson would be in the running for the title of fastest player in the class. Peppers, though, would likely be the favorite.
“I’ve seen his time and he went 10.56,” said Jackson. “My fastest time is 10.62, so I don’t know (who would win). It all depends. I’m not a 100 runner. I’ll give him that one. I’ll let him take that. (Laughter). I’m more of a 200 and 400 runner. I love those. I’m actually long jumper. I do other events, but my main events are long jump and running the relay.”
Jackson isn’t yet close to determining which school he’d like to represent both on the track and on the gridiron, but there appears to be a slight chance he could be a lot closer a few months from now.
“If I come out early, it will be before the season to get it out of the way and not worry about anything,” he said. “If I don’t, then I’m just going to put everything on hold until the season is over with and not think about a lot of stuff and then as soon as the year is over with, get it out of the way.”