The Ducks recently extended an offered to class of 2022 4-star linebacker Devon Jackson out of Omaha, Nebraska. Ducks Digest caught up with him following the news to provide an update on his recruitment.
The Oregon offer comes a bit later this cycle in part because Jackson was unable to play his junior season of high school football because of district restrictions due to COVID-19 last fall. Still, Jackson is determined to keep his focus on his future.
“It’s in the past. I couldn’t control it then, I can’t control it now," he said. "That’s what our coach tells us, ‘Don’t let COVID take two of our seasons.' "
Consistent communication with the Oregon staff started recently, and the offer came in soon after that. Jackson released a top five of Arizona State, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Notre Dame back in February, but the Ducks have immediately positioned themselves near the top of his list after showing interest.
“I feel like they’re a serious contender. Oregon has a lot of good stuff that I like about the school for me. It’s hard for me not to put them in a top three situation, cause it’s a lot of what I like about the school, and I don’t even know that much about the school which is cool and interesting,” Jackson said.
A major part of his Oregon interest lies in the on-field product.
“They’re a school that’s always pretty much in the top 10, if not top 10 at least in the top 15 every year. I know there’s some years Oregon maybe played a little below what people expected, but I feel where Oregon is at now and where it’s going it’s headed in the right direction. I feel like Oregon is making a statement that they can still compete with anyone in the country. Like we can do what y'all can do but in the Oregon way.”
The talent level in the Oregon program and the culture of competition are major factors that are standing out about the Ducks, particularly within the linebacker group after adding All-Americans like Noah Sewell and 2019 Butkus Award winner Justin Flowe.
“I know that their linebacker room, it’s a tough one. Especially now and going forward the defense is getting stronger. You already got two stud linebackers there already, Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell. If I go there I gotta try to beat those dudes out which is extremely tough or I gotta wait my turn."
It's just like the saying goes. Good players want to play with good players, and that certainly appears to be the case with Jackson as he works on whittling down his 20 offers.
"But point is it’s still gonna be a tough linebacker room in general and I actually like that and respect that about Oregon. If I go to Oregon you gotta actually earn that spot, cause you know Justin Flowe, he’s arguably the best high school linebacker of all time. It’s a competitive school, so as a competitor how do you not like that.”
Jackson has taken one official visit so far to Miami. It was an adjustment for him, but interesting enough for him to consider potentially taking a return trip there as an unofficial this fall.
“It was different, I’m gonna say that. Different from where I’m from," he said of the experience on his visit. "Different weather, different environment, just different type of people. So it was interesting to see. I like Coach Patke, who is the linebackers coach there. It’s kind of one of those schools I like, but a few question marks for me for them. I don’t know how I feel about it.”
Arizona State is another school that has been involved in Jackson’s recruitment and he's eyeing a return trip this fall after taking an unofficial in June.
“They’ve been recruiting me the longest out of all the schools, actually they offered me March 3 of last year. I like the coaches," he said. "I like coach AP (Antonio Pierce) and Coach (Chris) Claiborne. When I went down their unofficially that was one of the schools I didn’t have a question about. I liked it down there. I didn’t mind the dry heat weather wise. I thought the players were super cool. I loved all the coaches, they were all willing to talk to me. Over there, its a family and that’s something I look into to see, when times get hard everyone comes together. I like ASU.”
Jackson is focused on his senior season and lining up his visits for this fall. His decision is a ways off, but he is planning to enroll early at whichever program he chooses. Oklahoma and Texas are two other schools he is considering visiting. Jackson said he is definitely planning take an official to Oregon and is still figuring out the best date to fit in with his high school season.
Lastly, I asked Jackson how he would describe his own game on the football field. The main takeaway was his unique versatility.
“I’m a defensive player, but with that being said I’m not gonna label myself," Jackson said. "Even though I play linebacker I’m not just gonna label myself as a linebacker. My sophomore film shows more of an outside linebacker, defensive end type, and I was barely out in space.
"But this year, we have a whole different defense from two years ago. I’m more in the box, so I’m playing more of that off the ball WILL linebacker, so you’ll get to see more of me in the box now in my senior tape. Before they moved me back to linebacker I actually played safety at the beginning of the summer. If you hear 6’5, 210, that runs a 10.5, I mean that can do a lot of things. So I feel like if he really wanted me at safety I can do it. So I consider myself a defensive player so I will never have to come off the field.”
More from Ducks Digest
Join the Community
Follow Reid on Twitter: @mf_reid
Like and follow Ducks Digest on Facebook: @DucksDigest