Ole Miss may have found themselves a diamond in the rough.
The latest Ole Miss quarterback offer, Jackson Burkhalter, tore his ACL in 2018. He just reclassified from the 2020 to 2021 class. The Rebel offer on Tuesday is the first Power 5 he's received.
Burkhalter's injury during his junior season halted momentum for what was a kid emerging as a top recruit at the position. By the time his knee had heeled enough to work out at full strength, he was behind the recruiting calendar.
Now, he's reclassifying from to the 2021 class and the kid from Spanish Fort, Ala. is transferring to Worcester Academy in Massachusetts to re-do his senior season.
“Sometimes everyone looks at themselves, like, ‘man if I can just do this year over again.’ Well this year I actually get to," Burkhalter said. "It’s a big year for me, not just to work on my game, but for leadership. I’m trying to help other kids get where they want to be in life and in football.”
Burkhalter had some group of five offers for the 2020 class, but nothing peaked his interest. Standing at 6-foot-5 and 218-pounds, the Ole Miss offer for the 2021 class he picked up on Tuesday was the first of its kind. He's also drawing interest from Kansas and Virginia.
“I was ecstatic when I got that offer. What coach (Lane) Kiffin is trying to build, he’s building a winning program at Ole Miss. He’s brining a bunch of winners together with coach (Jeff) Lebby and stuff. What they’re doing up there is special.”
Burkhalter hasn't been on the Ole Miss campus since he threw for Phil Longo back in 2018, two offensive coaching staffs ago. He'll be taking a visit to Oxford alongside his brother, Christian, in late July.
Christian Burkhalter, a defensive end in the 2021 class, has over 25 D1 offers and is also seriously looking at the Rebels. He'll remain at Spanish Fort High School for the year while his brother travels north to play in Massachusetts.
So Jackson Burkhalter is getting his second chance at a senior year.
He says his knee is 100-percent. He jokes about filming extra workouts for his social media just to let coaches see how healthy the knee is. He'll get one final chance to put that senior season on camp for schools. But what is he looking for in a school? It goes beyond just football.
“I’m looking definitely at academics. Deciding where you want to go to school, for me, is a forty-year decision," Burkhalter said. "So I’m definitely looking for somewhere I can excel on and off the field. Location isn’t as important to me, I mean I’m going up to Massachusetts to play right now. But that said, I’d love to play close to home. I think when the time comes, I’ll know when it feels like home.”
Burkhalter is behind the eight ball in a typical recruiting cycle. Just choosing back in April to reclassify and go play at Worcester Academy, plus the ongoing pandemic that prevents on-campus recruiting, he's trying to not rush his decision.
He'd like to have his mind settled by the start of his senior year, but acknowledges it might not be the best option.
“In a perfect world, I’d like to have it done and commit before the start of the senior season," Burkhalter said. "But I want to go up there and meet the new staff then I’m going to take a few other official visits. So I’m not putting an exact date on it.”
The Rebels may have found themselves a diamond in the rough.