Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with a top linebacker target who’s set to announce his commitment on Friday.
Vernon Jackson ready to announce his commitment
Vernon Jackson, a 3-star athlete from Boling (Texas) High School, was originally going to announce his commitment on Aug. 26, but then Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the Houston area.
Jackson and his family live about an hour outside of downtown Houston, but Boling was still hit hard by the storm. There were several homes in Jackson’s area that had damage from the flooding, but, thankfully, the recruit’s family was unharmed by the hurricane.
“It was pretty bad. I got lucky,” Jackson told SEC Country. “My house and a few others in my neighborhood were one of a few that didn’t have damage. It definitely changes my perspective on things now. It makes me more grateful for what I have. It was just a bad situation. I donated a lot of supplies, food and a whole bunch of other things to help others.”
Boling High School was closed for more than a week because of Harvey. Classes resumed on Monday. The school will hold a pep rally on Friday at 3:30 ET. During the pep rally, Jackson, one of Alabama’s top inside linebacker targets in the 2018 class, will announce his commitment. The exact time of when he’ll announce isn’t clear. All Jackson knows is he’ll announce his decision at some point during the celebration.
Jackson is down to three schools. Alabama, TCU and Texas A&M will have hats on the table when he makes his decision public. The key word there is public. Jackson said his mind was made up prior to his original commitment date on Aug. 26. He has already silently committed to his school of choice.
The good news for Alabama is that Jackson visited both TCU and Texas A&M the past two weeks. The Crimson Tide have been considered the favorite to land Jackson since July, so if his choice is Alabama, those trips to his two other finalists didn’t change his mind.
He broke down why he would choose each school:
On Alabama: “They have a great program. I like it a lot there. I really like the coaches. They’re great people. They treat everyone good. I feel like I will fit in well there. I don’t know exactly where I’m going to play just yet, but I feel like I’d be a good player there.”
On TCU: “My favorite coach [defensive line coach Zarnell Fitch] is there. He’s been recruiting me the longest. That was my first scholarship. I like the coaches and the campus a lot.”
On Texas A&M: “It’s a good program. It’s close to home. I know a lot of guys there.”
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound prospect has an interesting recruitment because all three of his finalists are recruiting him at different positions. The Crimson Tide want him at inside linebacker, the Horned Frogs are recruiting Jackson at defensive end and the Aggies want him at running back.
Jackson, who plays quarterback at his school, believes he can succeed at all three positions. How does he compare his three choices when they each want him at different positions?
“At first, they were all of sort of the same,” Jackson said. “I basically sat down with all of the head coaches and asked them which position I would be the best at and get on the field the fastest. That’s what I’m looking for. I want to go somewhere where I can play the soonest. That was a question I asked all of the coaches, and they said if I’m one of the best players, then I’m going to play.”
Alabama also likes JJ Peterson, the nation’s No. 1 outside linebacker, at inside linebacker in this class. I expect the Tide to sign Peterson, too, when he makes his commitment.
Tide fans should tune in to SEC Country around 3:30 ET because I fully expect Alabama to be Jackson’s choice when he makes his commitment.
What kind of player would the team be getting if Jackson signs with Alabama?
“He’s special and freaky,” Boling coach Kevin Urbanek told SEC Country. “He’s 6-foot-3 and weighs over 240 pounds, but he moves like a skill kid. You watch him on film sometimes and you just ask yourself how he made that cut or how he does what he does at that size. He’s a special freak. That’s what I call him.”
Notable visitors for Colorado State game
The following players are expected to visit Tuscaloosa on Saturday:
- Junior college cornerback Saivion Smith
- Ole Miss defensive tackle commit Allen Love
- 4-star wide receiver Justyn Ross
- 4-star running back Harold Joiner
- 4-star wide receiver Justin Watkins
- 3-star offensive guard Jerome Carvin
- 3-star athlete Kevontae’ Ruggs — brother of Henry Ruggs III
- 4-star linebacker Quay Walker — committed to Alabama
- 4-star linebacker Jordan Davis — committed to Alabama
- 2019 4-star offensive tackle Pierce Quick — committed to Alabama
- 2019 4-star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa
- 2019 4-star linebacker Derrick McClendon
- 2019 3-star quarterback Paul Tyson — Bear Bryant’s great-grandson
Coaches on the road Friday night
The following coaches will be out on the road recruiting Friday night. Here is where they’ll be and which players they’ll see:
- Offensive line coach Brent Key will see 2019 5-star center Clay Webb at Oxford (Ala.) High School
- Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar will split his time at Jackson-Olin (Birmingham, Ala.) High School for 4-star defensive tackle Coynis Miller and St. Clair County for 3-star nose tackle target Jalen Cunningham.
- Running backs coach Burton Burns will see LSU defensive back commit Kelvin Joseph in Louisiana. Joseph’s team squares off against Southern Lab which is the home of 2019 5-star offensive guard Kardell Thomas, who’s committed to LSU, and 2019 4-star running back Tyrion Davis, who’s also committed to LSU.
- Outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi will be at Vernon Jackson’s game … If there’s a hint on which school Alabama is expecting him to pick on Friday.
- Wide receivers coach Mike Locksley will be in Texas to watch top slot receiver target Jaylen Waddle.
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