One of the Yellow Hammer State's best prospects is staying home.
Prattville High School product, 2021 four-star linebacker Ian Jackson announced on Thursday that he would be verbally committing to the University of Alabama.
Jackson becomes the sixth member of the Crimson Tide's 2021 recruiting class joining four-star wide receiver Jacorey Brooks, four-star linebacker Deontae Lawson, four-star wide out Agiye Hall, four-star safety Kaine Williams and three-star defensive tackle Anquin Barnes.
"I feel like it is a great decision for me," Jackson told Sports Illustrated All-American. "It is a big deal, not only for my family, but our community, too. Not many people from our area have been recruited so just for me to start that train back up will be a big deal for everyone."
As a junior with the Lions, Jackson wracked up 91 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss, six sacks, and one pick six. The Alabama Sports Writers Association named him to the 7A-First Team.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the 6-foot-2, 210 pound prospect able to visit Tuscaloosa in February for Junior Day. Here is what he told Bama Central following that trip, where he initially received a scholarship offer from coach Nick Saban:
"Overall, I like the facilities and the improvements they are about to make," Jackson said. "I also love all of the resources they provide that will help everyone become their best. I was blown away by the coaches and staff. They welcomed my family and I with open arms and they made sure that we felt at home. They went out of their way to show us a great time."
The in-state standout announced a top six last week that, along with the Crimson Tide, included Oklahoma, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, and Oregon.He also held offers from Tennessee, Florida State, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Miami, Ole Miss, UAB, among others.
Growing up, Jackson was actually on the other side in the Iron Bowl rivalry. He says he was an Auburn fan as a kid because of his mom and uncle, who are both alumni. His sister is currently going into her sophomore season down on the Plains, too.
But throughout his recruitment, he notes there was just something different about how the Crimson Tide coaching staff approached him.
"When the recruiting process started up, they [family] not like, 'go to Auburn,' they were just like go wherever you feel like it is best for you," Jackson said. "Alabama made me more of a priority than Auburn did. Coach Saban came down to my school to see me and that was real big and surprising. Then the next day, I went down there to Junior Day and they offered me, ever since then I was a priority. Auburn came along a little late and I just had that relationship already built already with Alabama."
His primary recruiters were Crimson Tide assistants Charles Kelly and Pete Golding.
"My main contact was probably Coach Kelly," Jackson said. "We talk pretty much every day. You know, the thing that stuck out with me was we could talk about stuff other than football. We could build a relationship away from football."
Jackson now joins a long list of players from the Prattville/Montgomery area that have suited up for the Crimson Tide that includes Nick Perry, OJ Howard, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Henry Ruggs III, and Mack Wilson.
"Those guys did not really influence my decision," Jackson said. "They were really happy for me. I have some big shoes to fill so I will need to step my game up. I always take on a challenge on head first. I never back down from one."