The 2020 season hasn’t gone according to plan for Omaha (Neb.) Burke standout edge defender Devon Jackson, and you can thank COVID-19 for that. All but one district in the state of Nebraska is having fall football, except the one Jackson lives in. That means he won’t be on the field this fall, and won’t be on the field in the spring either.
“I’ve opted out for this year,” Jackson told Irish Breakdown. “… They offered us a five-week season in the spring with three weeks of practice and two games, but it’s not worth it.”
Not being on the field this year won’t keep Jackson from being a heavily recruited player. Teams know the talent the 6-2, 200-pound edge player brings to the game, including the speed that allowed him to run a 10.9 in the 100-meter dash as a freshman.
“I pride myself on my speed around the edge,” explained the Burke star. “When I get to the ball carrier, I try to take their head off … I’m the fastest player on the field every time I play. I’m going to be playing receiver my senior year, so I’ll get a chance to show everyone how explosive I am on the other side of the ball as well.”
Jackson has offers from all over the country, and that list includes Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are an early top school for Jackson, who ESPN ranks as the nation’s No. 51 overall player.
“They’re high on my list,” Jackson said of the Irish. “My former teammate, [freshman wide receiver] Xavier Watts, tells me good stuff about the coaches and how much they want me to come to campus. It will be one of my first trips after the dead period.”
While he might not have ideal size for the defensive front at this point, schools are recruiting Jackson to play outside linebacker. For Notre Dame, that is actually their Vyper spot, which is technically a defensive end position, although it is played from a two-point stance.
“I’d fit the Vyper position,” Jackson explained of his fit at Notre Dame. “Playing on the edge, playing in space, and using my speed to disrupt the offense.”
Jackson has a frame similar to current Irish junior Ovie Oghoufo, who came to Noter Dame as a linebacker but grew into a Vyper.
The recruiting process is heating up for Jackson, who has offers from Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri, Michigan State, Kansas State and Minnesota among many others. He’s prepared to handle the process thanks to his family background.
“Both of my parents are former collegiate athletes,” Jackson stated. “My dad [Bobby Jackson] was a defensive back at the University of Illinois and was part of the team that won the 2011 Big Ten Championship. My mom ran track at Illinois and still holds an indoor record in the sprints.
“They’ve just told me to stay focused and take it piece by piece, but don’t pay attention to all the noise,” continued the four-star defender. “With COVID-19 and the lack of a football season, they’ve said to use it as an opportunity to get the best grades I can so that I can go to a school like Notre Dame.”
Jackson was using the Fighting Irish program as an example of what he’s looking for, it wasn’t a statement that he’s working just to get into Notre Dame, specifically. But Notre Dame does fit what Jackson is looking for in many ways.
“I'm looking for a school that provides something off the field as well as on the field,” Jackson explained. “That’s what I like about schools like Notre Dame. I'm also looking for a place where I can play quickly and make an impact; playing time matters to me. I'm also looking for coaches that have a good track record of developing players at my position.”
Jackson knows he wants to play football, but he’s still back and forth on what he wants to do as far as a major. He mentioned wanting to be a psychiatrist at one point, and now he likes the idea of being a dermatologist. The key, however, is finding a profession centered around helping people.
He's still very early in the recruiting process, but as long as Notre Dame continues pushing for them they will be a player in his recruitment.
Become a premium Irish Breakdown member, which grants you access to all of our premium content, our premium message board and gets you a FREE subscription to Sports Illustrated! Click on the link below for more
Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time!