AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn fired off his obligatory “Boom!” and Auburn’s summer commitment wave finally hit.
The Tigers have been commitment-free since the spring game, when they landed two recruits. On Monday, their drought ended when an Auburn legacy target announced his commitment to the Tigers in a video with AL.com. Shedrick Jackson committed to Auburn over Missouri, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech and Memphis.
Here are five things every Auburn fan should know about its newest commitment:
1. Yes, he is the nephew of the greatest athlete ever.
It’s been said many times before, but let’s get it out of the way.
Shedrick Jackson’s uncle is Auburn legend Bo Jackson. The younger Jackson doesn’t want that to be too much of a talking point. He’s trying to make a name for himself, and his uncle’s status on the Plains even made Shedrick hesitant to choose the Tigers at first.
When it was all said and done, the family connection to Auburn — and the fact Shedrick and his family have rooted for the Tigers their entire lives — couldn’t be ignored.
2. Jackson shined at an Auburn camp a few weeks ago.
Apparently some of Bo’s mystique is genetic.
Shedrick attended an Auburn recruiting camp a few weeks ago just to get some work in. Already impressed by Jackson, the Auburn coaching staff was blown away by the performance he put on during his day trip to the Plains.
In the 40-yard dash, Shedrick mimicked his uncle with back-to-back times of 4.31 seconds and 4.32 seconds. So maybe those numbers don’t have the “no way” pop of his uncle’s sub-4.1 legend, but narrowly missing the sub-4.3 mark is nothing to scoff at.
On top of that, Shedrick showed mechanical route-running that makes it almost impossible for defensive backs to stop him.
3. Jackson will surprise people who see him as a 3-star.
Take one look at Jackson and one look at his 247Sports composite ranking. It may surprise you.
He’s listed as a 3-star prospect, the No. 89 wide receiver in the nation and the No. 531 overall prospect nationally. The word underrated is tossed around too much on the recruiting circuit — guilty as charged — but it seems fitting in Jackson’s case. Put it this way: Good luck finding 88 wide receivers better than Jackson.
At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds — oh yeah, and his 4.3 speed — Jackson can do everything you ask him to do as a wide receiver. He has the ability to serve in a number of different roles in Auburn’s offense, but as the first true wide receiver — Kolbi Fuqua could be a DB — to join the class, Chip Lindsey is getting a versatile weapon that can line up at most wide receiver positions.
As for Jackson’s ranking, maybe people didn’t want to overhype him because he’s Bo Jackson’s nephew, hence his surprisingly low rating for a tall, rangy receiver with great hands and a high IQ.
4. He’s a state champion.
Of course he is. He plays for Hoover High School.
That state’s most well-known football power has been kind to Auburn recently. Stud linebacker Darrell Williams went there. Offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey has made the quick rise from Hoover OC to Auburn OC with only a few pit stops in between.
If you go to Hoover, there’s a good chance you’re leaving with a state championship in football. After his junior season, Jackson has two. Hoover won during his freshman season before he was a major contributor, but Jackson & Co. scored another state title in Jordan-Hare Stadium in December.
Hoover topped the defending state champions, McGill-Toolen, inside the same stadium Jackson will play his college ball. Jackson caught four passes in that game. He snagged 43 passes for 661 yards and three touchdowns for the full season.
5. Jackson, a top-notch student, plans to enroll early.
There was a time when two high-academic schools had a great chance to land Jackson. He really liked Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt in the early going. Both of those schools offer a great academic situation to go along with the student-athlete experience.
That’s something that matters to Jackson.
He will graduate early from Hoover in December. That means he’ll sign his paperwork during the early signing period, as he would’ve regardless of the new rules.
Jackson plans to study business management or marketing in college.
“There’s something about schools like Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech and the way they carry themselves academically. That’s something that I take pride in, my academics. I just want to go in and work hard,” Jackson told SEC Country earlier in the year.