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News on Recruit Jackson


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From DailyCommerical.com

 

Interesting. His HS Coach feels that their are alot of Irish fans in the area and this will eventually help Weis.

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11/17/2005 10:32:00 PM Email this article • Print this article

Jackson verbally commits to Irish

 

Frank Jolley

Staff Writer

 

LAKE BUENA VISTA — With the simple doffing of a cap, East Ridge senior Richard Jackson ended months of speculation.

 

Jackson announced Thursday on national television from the ESPN Club on Disney’s Boardwalk that he would sign a national letter of intent to play football at the University of Notre Dame.

 

After answering a few questions and listening to a recruiting analyst break down his talents, Jackson was asked to end the suspense. With a sly smile, Jackson removed the plain black cap he was wearing and replaced it with one bearing the Notre Dame logo.

 

“I’ll be attending school at Notre Dame,” he said.

 

The East Ridge wide receiver said Notre Dame became his top choice after he made an official visit to the school Oct. 15 — the day the Irish played top-ranked Southern California. He met with Irish coach Charlie Weis and spoke with legendary quarterback Joe Montana.

 

Jackson made the visit with his father, Tommy Davis, a longtime Irish fan.

 

“We were kind of in awe of everything when we got to the campus,” Jackson said. “We wanted to see the ‘Touchdown Jesus’ and the stadium. It was simply an incredible place to visit. The tradition there was almost overwhelming at times.”

 

Until his visit to Notre Dame, Jackson said he was undecided between Miami, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame.

 

Because of Weis’ passing philosophy, Jackson said he felt his skills would be better suited for the Irish’s offense.

 

“From a receiver’s perspective, with Coach Weis calling the plays, Notre Dame is a great fit,” Jackson said. “He likes to sling the ball all over the field, and that’s the kind of team I want to play for.”

 

Jackson is considered one of ESPNInsider.com’s Top 150 high school seniors. He is the seventh member from that group to make a verbal commitment to Notre Dame.

 

ESPNInsider.com recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill said Jackson has all the tools to succeed at the major college level.

 

“The only thing Richard lacks is blinding speed,” Luginbill said. “But he’s got the size and strength that coaches are looking for and he’s not afraid to go over the middle, which makes him a tremendous scoring threat in the red zone.

 

“His skills remind some people of Jerry Rice, although that’s probably not fair to Richard to make that comparison. It’s way too early, I think, for that kind of assessment. Let’s just say Richard has a huge upside.”

 

Jackson said he contacted Weis after he made his decision and said the coach was “very happy” and welcomed him to the team.

 

Notre Dame officials would not comment on Jackson’s decision. NCAA regulations prohibit college coaches from commenting on athletes until they sign letters on intent, which is a binding agreement between an athlete and a school.

 

Recruits are permitted to sign with colleges beginning Feb. 1.

 

Verbal commitments are not binding, although Jackson said he would not change his mind unless, “Coach Weis leaves or Notre Dame switches to the Wing-T.”

 

Jackson said he was never pressured to pick Notre Dame, in spite of his father’s allegiances to the school. In fact, Davis said he offered little advice to his son.

 

“When he told me that he wanted to go to Notre Dame, I asked him, ‘Are you doing this because I like them?’ ” Davis said. “He assured me he wanted to go there because he thought it was the right place for him.”

 

Davis and his wife, Maria, said Jackson didn’t tell them of his decision until less than two weeks ago.

 

“I was getting ready for bed one evening and Richard came into my room and said ‘Mom, I’ve decided where I want to go: Notre Dame,’ ” Maria Davis said. “I asked him if he was sure and we talked about it for a little while after that.”

 

Said Tommy Davis, “Richard didn’t want to tell us at the same time, so he waited until his mother was in the bedroom and I was in the living room. After he told her, he came out and just said, ‘Pop, I’m going to Notre Dame.’ ”

 

Jackson said he is glad the recruiting process is over. He estimated he had received “about 1,000” letters from colleges and coaches around the country.

 

After initially saying he would make a verbal commitment in October, Jackson later decided to withhold his decision until the season ended for the East Ridge football team.

 

East Ridge, the top-ranked team in Class 6A in the final Florida Sports Writers Association poll, lost to Orlando Edgewater 27-24 in overtime Nov. 11 in the Class 6A-Region 1 quarterfinals. Jackson missed the second half of that game with a concussion he suffered on a punt return in the second quarter.

 

Jackson considered graduating from East Ridge early so he could enroll at Notre Dame and take part in spring drills, but has decided not to.

 

“I want to play basketball for East Ridge and go to my senior prom,” Jackson said. “I want to enjoy what’s left of my last year of high school.”

 

Josh Shaw, East Ridge’s defensive and recruiting coordinator, said Jackson’s commitment was a tribute to “all the hard work he puts in on the practice field and in the weight room.”

 

East Ridge coach Bud O’Hara was out of town and unable to attend the announcement. He said Jackson’s commitment is a “big moment” for the Knights’ program.

 

“This proves we do have kids here who can play for the best college teams in the country,” O’Hara said. “I’m so happy for Richard. He’s worked so hard since the first day he showed up here and this is how it pays off for him — a free education at one of the finest institutions in the country.

 

“It’s going to have a trickle-down effect for Notre Dame. I think Coach Weis will discover he’ll have many more Irish fans down here watching them next year, including me.”

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