Hendersonville (Tenn.) Beech High School tight end Jackson Long has watched his recruiting stock soar in the last few weeks. Since the first week of April, Long has picked up Division 1 offers from Florida State, Coastal Carolina, and Western Kentucky, with several other schools circling.
The rising star in the college football recruiting world gives the latest on his surge, which offers may come next and more.
"Well, I really like it," Long said of the recent uptick in his recruitment. "I like all of the attention I am getting from the coaches. Getting the call from Coach Norvell was amazing. I really liked talking to him and coach Thompson and getting calls from other colleges like Tennessee and Coach Golesh. Talking to Western Kentucky and Coastal Carolina has been awesome, too. I like relating to them and talking about football."
Tennessee has yet to offer, but an offer from the home-state Vols would mean a lot to the mid-state product.
"It would be amazing," Long said. "I know they are an SEC school, and there is a lot of amazing players coming out of there. Jalen Hurd committed there when he played down here in Beech, and it was amazing. Everyone loved him for it. To get an offer from there would be amazing."
Other schools outside of the Volunteer State are starting to circle and could be close to pulling the trigger for the hybrid tight end.
"Wisconsin has been talking to me for a while," Long said. So, I think they might end up offering me. Marshall called me last night. They really like me."
Now, Long's recruitment is in full swing, but for a while that was not the case.
"At the beginning, I was trying to be patient," he said. "Now, it is really all coming. I am trying to take it all in the best I can, but I just really like the experience of the recruitment."
Long's 6'5, 225-pound frame, coupled with his athleticism, is something that coaches across the country are taking notice of.
"They like that I am a hybrid tight end and that I can run routes and block," Long said of what coaches have told him about his game. "Me being able to do both and not being one-dimensional is really intriguing to them.”
So, what does Long like about his game, and where does he think he can improve? He discussed that as well.
"I just like the way I can make plays expand after I get the ball in my hands," he said. "I am able to make moves and make people miss and go through people to get extra yards. I like to help my running back when I block and help make the play better."
"I think my route running needs to get a little better. Sometimes I drift off my routes. I think that probably needs to be improved."
Long plays on one of the top 7v7 programs in the state of Tennessee and the Southeast with Tennessee select 7v7, which features multiple national recruits like Dallan Hayden, Cam Miller, Elijah and Caleb Herring, Isaiah Horton, and Jordan James, among others. The experience is something Long has utilized to help his game and recruitment.
"I definitely have," Long said of using his 7v7 experience as an asset. "I have been asking them questions about stuff, even like interviews and how to answer questions from reporters. I think they really help me see where I am with everyone. It helps me see where everyone else is and how I need to get better with my game."
There is a long way to go in this recruitment, but when asked what he would tell coaches about why they should offer him, his answer was clear.
"I am a really hard worker," he said. "I am in the gym almost every day. I am trying to be the best I can be, and I am definitely going to give my all if they give me an offer."
While it is early, if the right offers come in, Long could make a decision sooner than later; if not, he will not stress it.
"If all goes well, and I get a lot of offers coming in and a lot of schools I like, I will probably decide in the summer. If not, I will take it easy and not stress over it too much and wait until the time is right for me to commit."
Long offered up a tremendous amount of insight about his recruitment and game, so when given a chance to tell people what they should know about him, he took advantage to speak about his faith.
"I think they need to know I am a child of God. I just want to spread the word and give all the glory to God."
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