- Tyler Harden
Four-star cornerback and Florida Commit, Ja'Keem Jackson, "felt the vibe" in Gainesville
Photo Credit: on3.com
Ja’Keem Jackson and two of his future teammates at the University of Florida organized a plan to commit together on back-to-back-to-back days in July. Their plan allowed Florida to enter into the Top 15 recruiting class rankings according to 247sports. Jackson was the first of the three, which also included four-star wide receiver, Aidan Mizell, and four-star safety, Jordan Castell, to commit to the Gators. On Friday night, Jackson joined me on Zoom for an interview to talk about his decision to commit to Florida and more.
Ja'Keem Jackson Interview
Ja’Keem Jackson, a six-foot, one-inch, 180-pound, four-star cornerback, plays at Osceola High School in Kissimmee, Florida. He is ranked as the No. 19 cornerback in the country, the No. 37 recruit in Florida, and the No. 168 overall recruit in the country according to 247sports.
Jackson’s close bonds with Aidan Mizell and Jordan Castell allowed them to organize a plan to help Florida’s recruiting class boost into the Top 15. ”I’m really close with Jordan [Castell] and Aidan [Mizell],” Jackson said. “We planned it [their commitments]. I was the 28th, Aidan was the 29th, Jordan was the 30th, we really planned that.”
But Jackson’s decision to commit to the Gators came down to the feeling he got every time he stepped on campus. “Just felt the vibe every time I went there. I’ve been there like four times,” Jackson said. “Every time I’ve been there, the coaching staff, they showed mad love, the players showed love, the fans showed love, everyone showed love. So I just caught a vibe every time I got there.”
Jackson definitely experiences the love and support a recruit would get from a passionate, SEC fan base like the University of Florida’s. Once Jackson made it official with Florida, the fans welcomed him with open arms, and that was something he loved. “It feels great, they show a lot of love every day,” Jackson said. “I love the Florida fans.”
Jackson was recruited by schools all around the country, as he held 34 offers. Regardless, Jackson found his home right in his home state. “I was interested in Kentucky, I messed with them real hard,” Jackson said. “I messed with Auburn, and I messed with Penn State too, but that was too far I couldn’t do it, and then I messed with Tennessee.”
For a recruit having more than 30 offers to choose from, it is of course a blessing. But it is a blessing that comes with a cost of time and commitment to build relationships with the different coaching staffs. But once Jackson committed to Florida, it was a weight lifted from his shoulders. “It feels good, it takes a lot of stress off because the recruiting process was crazy,” Jackson said. “I’m glad I committed, settled down, and yeah, going on from there.”
Jackson can now focus on his senior season at Osceola High School without having to worry about the recruiting process. He was a Florida Class 8A runner-up two seasons ago with his team at Osceola, and now as a senior, Jackson hopes to return to the state title game, and end his high school career as a state champion.