Toby Jackson is going to show up at Georgia Military College after all.
The highly-touted defensive end from Griffin was expected to be playing there this fall. The plan was for Jackson — a 2008 Georgia signee — to enroll at the Milledgeville military school/junior college after he failed to meet entrance requirements during a stint at Hargrave Military Academy last winter.
But after several conversations with GMC AD and head football coach Bert Williams about what all he needed to do to come to GMC, Jackson pulled a reverse and ended up at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.
As fate would have it, Navarro plays at GMC this Saturday.
“They wanted him here,” Williams said of the Bulldogs. “Toby and I talked a few times about what he needed to do and he was like, ‘OK’ and ‘yes sir.’ Then, after I tell him there should be no problems, all of the sudden you can’t get him on the phone.”
Neither could I. A message for left Jackson and his coach at Navarro, Nick Bobeck, was not returned Thursday. But, in their defense, they were looking at a 15-hour-or-so bus ride to Milledgeville overnight. So they might’ve been a little busy.
In the last/best interview I could find, Jackson told Anthony Dasher of UGAsports.com last January he simply didn’t want to do the military school thing again. It has also been speculated that competing schools recruiting Jackson may have placed him at the small Texas college. Alabama was on him heavy as well as some other SEC and Big 12 schools. In any case, Jackson declared his recruitment “reopened” after getting to Navarro.
Williams insists he is not the least bit bitter. Such comings and goings are commonplace in the nomadic world that is junior college football.
“I’m not going to lose any sleep over it,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of good players here. He wasn’t going to do what he needed to do if he didn’t want to be here.”
Still, Williams prefers when players are straight up with him. Former Georgia Tech defensive back Kamaron Riley was also supposed to enroll at GMC after running into some academic trouble at The Institue but had a last-second change of heart. “At least he called and said, ‘I don’t know if I want to do the military thing,” Williams said with a laugh. “I can respect that.”
Riley ended up at Independence (Kan.) Community College.
Those little sidebars aside, it should be a doosie of a game Saturday in Milledgeville. Navarro (1-0) is ranked No. 7 in the NJCAA poll while GMC (1-0) is No. 8 following a 35-33 upset win at No. 3-ranked Ellsworth (Iowa) last weekend.
Williams got to see a lot of Griffin while studying Navarro’s game tape this past week.
“He looks pretty good,” Williams said. “They started him at end and then moved him to 3-technique (tackle) in the second half,” Williams said. “He’s a good player. The one thing he’s great with is his hands. He’s got good, quick, strong hands. He’s going to be a guy we have to do a good job on.”
In the meantime, at least Williams got one Jackson to Milledgeville. Kantorius “Scoot” Jackson, Toby’s little brother, plays strong safety for GMC.
A few more notes out of the JUCO ranks:
Hamilton excels at GMC
Safety Jakar Hamilton is currently the only player GMC Bulldog set to become a Georgia Bulldog. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound sophomore committed in July and plans to enroll at UGA in January.
Meanwhile, he had a good first game for his current team. Williams said Hamilton had five tackles and returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown in last Saturday’s game.
Making GMC proud
Williams, who got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Georgia in the early 1990s, spoke like a proud papa while watching the South Carolina-N.C. State game Thursday night. There were six GMC graduates in that game. Among them was former Georgia Bulldog Michael Lemon, a North Carolina State defensive end who picked off a pass in the second half. Wolfpack DT Leroy Burgess also went to GMC. The Gamecocks had four GMC alums: LB Josh Dickerson (Kingsland), OG Steven Singleton (Buford), LB Tony Slaughter (Madison, Fla.) and OT Rokevious Watkins (Fairburn).