We are two weeks into the Alabama high school football season and Prattville linebacker Ian Jackson is showing why he is such a prized recruit.
The University of Alabama commit recorded seven tackles and one fumble recovery in the Lions' 40-10 win over Wetumpka in Week 1, and then last week, against Stanhope Elmore he tallied eight tackles, leading Prattville to a 16-10 victory.
Jackson pledged to the Crimson Tide back at the end of May over his final schools of Auburn, Georgia, Oklahoma, LSU, and Oregon. He also held offers from Tennessee, Nebraska, Florida State, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, UAB, Miami, among others.
What many people might not realize is, that Jackson has only been playing strictly linebacker for just over a year now. He was originally a defensive back at the start of his prep career.
"He can do multiple things," Prattville coach Caleb Ross told Bama Central. "We decided to move him and he was a natural. The beauty about him is he had all the ball skills from playing safety and in the defensive backfield most of life and he is also big and long enough to play off the edge and take on blocks. He has some really natural skills rushing off of the edge. He could even play inside linebacker, too. He can just play all over the place."
Jackson is one of Alabama's four in-state pledges in the 2021 cycle, joining Anquin Barnes of Lee-Montgomery, Tim Keenan of Ramsay, and Deontae Lawson of Mobile Christian.
The 6-foot-3, 215 pound prospect told SI All-American that the Crimson Tide coaching staff plans to use him at the money linebacker spot when he arrives to the Capstone.
Prospect: LB Ian Jackson
Projected Position: Linebacker
Status: SI All-American Candidate
Vitals: 6-foot-3, 215 pounds
School: Prattville (Ala.) High School
Committed to: Alabama
Frame: Tall with broad shoulders and lean muscle throughout. Above-average length with room to pack on pounds to trunk.
Athleticism: Good straight line speed with long stride and powerful redirection ability without much notice. Can turn and run with slot receivers, backs and athletic tight end types without issue. Sustainable long speed with lateral strength to beat blocker to the punch.
Instincts: Comfortable in space as pass rusher or off-ball linebacker with effectiveness versus pass and the run. Strong motor and body control through contact with finishing ability versus the passer or ball carrier. Safety foundation flashes range and ball skills relative to size.
Polish: Accomplished pass rusher as a junior with combination of stand-up edge presence and blitzing consistency. True pop on contact in the wash or in space. Quick play diagnosis with ability to make plays moving forward or backward, including inside-our principles of coverage. Aggressive through responsibility.
Bottom Line: Jackson is a jack-of-all-trades linebacker prospect with three-down ability in the classic or modern age of college football. He can impact the passing game as an additional rusher or in coverage, moving like a large safety having spent varsity seasons at the position. A great frame, savvy and physicality at the point of attack will enable adequate success against the run even at the highest level of college ball.