Brookwood DB Zach Jackson commits to Illinois over SEC, ACC schools

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Zach JacksonThe star defensive back on the high school football team that won last year’s state championship in Georgia’s largest classification is headed to the Big Ten.

Brookwood defensive back Zach Jackson committed to Illinois over Mississippi State, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and Purdue, among others.  Jackson, who is considered one of the state’s most underrated college football prospects, also had serious interest from other big-name suitors.

Jackson has a family pipeline to Illinois: His cousin, former Woodstock High School standout Evan Wilson, earned some Freshman All-America honors after starting 11 games at tight end for Illinois last season.

“When I visited Illinois about two weeks ago, the first thing that stood out to me was the campus; it was beautiful,” Jackson told the AJC. “I got a chance to sit down with the football coaches and the academic people, and I really liked what they had to offer. Academics is actually the No. 1 thing to me because at the end of the day it’s all about getting that degree.

“I really liked the facilities and the plans that coach [Ron Zook] has for me as a football player. If I continue to work hard, I have a strong chance of going in there and playing as a freshman.

“All those things played into it, along with having my cousin Evan up there. That didn’t sway my decision. But he told me a lot of neat things about the school and that helped me get a better perspective of everything.”

Jackson was leaning toward Michigan State, which has a pipeline of players to Brookwood High School. WR-DB AJ Sims signed with Michigan State last February, and Brookwood senior RB Nick Tompkins committed to the Spartans earlier this summer.

“I was waiting on Michigan State to see what they were going to do with an offer,” Jackson said. “They seemed very interested, but they are waiting to see what some 5-star recruits are going to do. Illinois wanted me the whole time, and they weren’t really concerned where I was ranked or things like that. That really swayed my decision into committing there.”

Jackson said he also had strong flirtations with Georgia Tech until he was told they were looking at another safety prospect.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Jackson said he has a 3.0 GPA and plans to major in Biology or Sports Medicine.

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18 comments Add your comment

Paddy

August 5th, 2011
9:24 pm

Congrats on your scolly to Ill.

JAWJeRDAWG

August 5th, 2011
10:10 pm

Congratulations, Zach. Study hard. Play hard.

ATLANTA GEORGIA, USA

August 5th, 2011
10:51 pm

congrats young man, go where they need you the most, Chip what is his size and weight?

Michael Carvell

August 5th, 2011
11:10 pm

@ATLANTA, he’s 6 foot and 185 pounds

TampaGator

August 5th, 2011
11:14 pm

The Zooker comes into Georgia and takes a good one……you remember Ron Zook, right? Good for the Zooker…….I am sure he will get “Better and better,” as the Zooker would always say in his speed speech sort of way. I miss that….but not much.

[...] State championship DB commits to Big Ten over SEC, ACC schools (click on story link) [...]

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

August 6th, 2011
9:10 am

Hope he enjoys the cold, snow and ice.

RedandBlackDAWG

August 6th, 2011
9:29 am

Smart kid, he has his priorities straight. Get that education because football can end in a heartbeat sometimes, but knowledge carries you through life. I would say though, that you had better enjoy the campus scenery in the summer though. It does change significantly in the winter. The mid west does get a little chilly, LOL.
Not sure the Zooker got this one, so much as the kid got Zooker. Sounds like he had a lot of ties to there already.

IM4GT

August 6th, 2011
10:52 am

OMG TampaGator, how did the mighty SEC not get this kid????

Where are your jokes and cute remarks (like with the OL signees for UGA & UF over VT & FSU)??
It goes both ways doesn’t?

Oh, and how about the #1 QB recruit that committed to FSU over BAMA & other schools…that’s gotta be a misprint doesn’t it?

RedandBlackDAWG

August 6th, 2011
12:01 pm

I thought the QB FSU got was a nbr 2 QB in Alabama, not the whole country. Does that make him a 5 star country wise, or just a good one from the SEC. Since we are talking about an early committment, the kid could change his mind half a dozen times between now and February. The same as almost all of these early commitments.

IM4GT

August 6th, 2011
2:28 pm

Ive heard a few reports that he is the #1 QB recriut in the nation for class of 2012.

But again, these recruiting “gurus” are about as reliable as a meteorologist.

wreckmaniac

August 6th, 2011
4:04 pm

Been out of town for a few days and had not caught up wiht ajc.com until today. Just read about Marcus Allen out of Florida coming to Tech and all I can say is WOW. Great job P.J.! This kid sounds perfect and does he ever get it. Sounds as if he could have gone anywhere but wanted to come to Tech for the degree. He is our kind of guy and we will all be following him closely.

[...] Brookwood DB Zach Jackson picks Illinois over SEC, ACC schools (click on story link) [...]

Delbert D.

August 7th, 2011
9:18 am

“Hope he enjoys the cold, snow and ice.”

Most people in the US do enjoy it. Some people who haven’t lived north of the Mason-Dixon line apparently have an irrational fear of it.

RedandBlackDAWG

August 7th, 2011
2:58 pm

Delbert D.

I have lived up north for a lot of time when I was in the service and was born in Maryland. Nothing irrational about the fear of the cold. You either like it and adjust or you don’t. If I were a young man, given a choice of the north or south to play and stay in the winter, Illinois wouldn’t do it for me, if I could stay down south with a team in warmer weather.
Good luck to the kid anyway. He is thinking ahead after football and that is rare for a kid coming out of a southern school.

GO DAWGS

Delbert D.

August 7th, 2011
4:04 pm

RedandBlack – I was born in Georgia, and I’ve spent most of my decades here, except for 8 years in the service and 5 years after. My wife and her family are from Chicago (Swedish, Norwegian and Swiss people). I’ve lived in Maryland twice, eastern and western Massachusetts, Chicago and both northern and southern New Jersey. The Middletown/Red Bank NJ area was interesting because we had frozen ponds to skate on in the winter and the beach 10 miles away in the summer. Knowshon Moreno is from that area.

RedandBlackDAWG

August 7th, 2011
9:42 pm

You know what cold is then. I spent 6 years in Wisconsin and 1 year in N. Dakota. That was the coldest I have ever been in my life, LOL. I spent 6 years in Denver also, but that is a different cold there, because the air is so dry. 18 years in Maryland, and though I was born there, I hope to never see the state again. When I was young, I thought the snow and ice were fun. Now that I am a lot older, I have no desire for weather under 70F, LOL. But if I were given my choice and was a young man looking to continue my football career past high school, I would still prefer to be down south. I remember playing in about 25 degree weather and your knees would hurt for a week after the game. You prefered to hit a guy so that you landed on top of him and not to the side on underneath. Made you a sure tackler though, because you didn’t want to ride down anybody from behind and get dragged through that cold turf, LOL.
There was a big ole boy that played for Maryland, from delaware and finally the Dallas Cowboys, named randy white. They used to say, he would knock the ice crystals off of a runner when he hit him. Meet the guy in Delaware, through one of his friends while I was stationed, actually stuck there, LOL, and he looked like he could probably do it.

[...] Brookwood DB Zach Jackson picks Illinois over SEC, ACC schools (click on story link) [...]