Former SEC Commit Jackson Cuts Weight, Looking for College Home
John Garcia, Jr.
When Florida took the verbal commitment of 6-foot-5, class of 2021 offensive line prospect George Jackson, he admits he was above the 350-pound mark.
It was late in 2018 and the Peach State native was known as a massive force looking to take the next step at IMG Academy.
Neither the pledge to UF or the stint at IMG would last very long, and coupled with the pandemic-related recruiting restrictions over the last year, Jackson feels lost in the shuffle.
The traditional signing period for seniors begins in less than two weeks, February 3.
"I'm fortunate to have some D1 options but I feel like I am under recruited because of the way things are this year," Jackson told SI All-American. "I haven’t been able to get in front of anyone because COVID stopped everything. There were no showcases, no camps, and no visits so I don’t think it was noticed. My game improved immediately. I always had good feet and balance but with the weight loss and increased strength my steps were quicker and punch was on a new level. I was able to block in space and closed the gap on my downfield target much quicker. Even when I missed I was able to recover in time.
"This COVID year, transfer portal and 6th and 7th year Seniors coming back has made it tough."
Jackson did get in front of scouts late in the process, shining at the return of the Florida vs. Georgia All-Star Game over the weekend. He looked noticeably trim compared to his listed size.
"I have been known as being big but worked really hard to lose over 50 pounds this last year to show colleges that I am ready," he said. "I had to change a lot of things in my life a year ago. I was injured my sophomore season and wasn’t able to workout like I was used to. Even though I pushed rehab and got released three months ahead of time, the thought of not being a hard worker or disciplined got attached with me because I gained weight. After the season when I was home I was able to workout like I was before with three workouts a day. I had a strength session, conditioning session, and positioning training each day.
"I changed my eating habits with more protein and less carbs. I actually ate more but ate better choices with fresh ingredients. I lost more than 50 pounds and got down to 315. I played nearly 100 snaps my last high school game, playing both ways, and can say that I left all I had on the field that day."
After the return to health and weight loss, there are a few college football programs still relatively high on Jackson, who hopes to end the process the first Wednesday in February.
"It’s between Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State, Florida State, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech," he said. "I’m looking to commit to a total program, the academics, the coaches, the guys in the locker room, the full experience. It all has to be right because I have learned that if any of it is off it can cause a bad situation.
"It has been a long process that was made extra hard with the all of the things going on for my entire class. I couldn't control a lot of things but I tackled what I could in the classroom and on the field and weight room. I think I was lost in the shuffle but where ever I land I am coming to work and contribute. That school will be getting a player."
Jackson, wrapping up his prep career at Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson High School, was not only a Georgia All-Star, but was named Class 4A All-State and All-Metro by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution just this week.
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