- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
There are several advantages in attending a high school that has a powerhouse football team -- the wins, the exposure.
But for 2014 running back recruit Ashton Jackson (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) the main advantage has been asking older players for advice during his own recruiting process.
"I asked them how to talk to coaches so that I could know how to talk to coaches," Jackson said. "They gave me good advice on that. Made me more relaxed. Initially I was scared to just call a coach. But they told me, 'It's fine, just call them. That's what you do.' "
So far he has picked up only two offers (Illinois and Toledo), but he is being recruited by Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Tennessee. Jackson said it's too early to have a top school, and he never has had a dream school, though he did grow up a Buckeyes fan.
"Most schools right now just say they like what they see from grades, my ACT scores and my ability," Jackson said.
Trotwood-Madison should sound familiar to Michigan fans. It's the same program that produced running back Michael Shaw, wide receiver Roy Roundtree and 2013 linebacker commit Mike McCray.
With the advice of Bradley and Burrows, the 5-foot-9 running back is making sure he finds the right fit academically (Jackson is hoping to study criminal justice), but he also wants to make sure it's the right fit athletically.
"I want to make sure they have a running game that I'm comfortable with," Jackson said. "I like hitting the holes in the middle. The I-formation, that's my favorite."
Jackson said his main strengths as a running back are his aggressiveness, how fast he hits the holes, and his vision on the field.
Trotwood-Madison coach Maurice Douglass agreed and said that while Jackson is a versatile enough player to play in almost any offense, there is one that would feature the potential of Jackson.
"I think he could be a good back in the spread system, but I think he'd be a phenomenal back in a downhill running system," Douglass said. "Those offenses that are I-formation, I think he'd do extremely well in."
With the Wolverines moving into more of a pro-style offense over the next few seasons, Michigan could use a running back like Jackson and will most likely continue to target backs like him. Jackson said he expects to make a decision by the end of his junior year so that he can focus on his senior season.
"I try to just be myself on the field," Jackson said. "But people tell me that I run like Adrian Peterson. That works for me."