- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Teams recruiting Justin Jackson (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North) don’t seem to care what position he plays. They just want him to be playing it for them.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior prospect is being looked at for either running back and cornerback, but four teams have already told Jackson he has a scholarship at any position he likes.
Boston College, Illinois, Northwestern and Purdue have extended offers to Jackson, who has 1,400 yards and 21 touchdowns this season through seven games despite playing with a lingering hip flexor since summer.
This past weekend, Jackson made a visit up to Wisconsin for the Badgers game against Illinois.
“It was a really good experience,” Jackson said. “The atmosphere is crazy. Someone said it’s one of the best college towns in the nation and I definitely believe that. As a player, you’d love to play for a town that’s behind you.”
Jackson has family that lives in Madison, and they are already telling him they certainly would like to see more of him, especially on Saturdays in the fall.
“I’ve been up there a lot. They’re huge Badgers fans,” he said. “They’ve definitely try to pitch and get Wisconsin on me more than a few times, tell me about the school and how the atmosphere is around there. Once I experienced it I believed it. It’s a really great college town and campus.”
Chris Ash is recruiting Jackson for the Badgers, but he has also talked with running backs coach Thomas Hammock as well as head coach Bret Bielema. Jackson said the Badgers have already made a strong impression on him.
Jackson visited Northwestern for the Vanderbilt game, and it was an opportunity to also see the Commodores. Vanderbilt is recruiting him, and the program impressed him during his visit. So much so that he now wants to see Vanderbilt's campus.
“Vanderbilt is very impressive to me. I’ve watched their games, watched their offense,” he said. “I like their style. ... I heard the campus is beautiful, and their coaching staff, I like them a lot.”
As for whether Jackson wants to play offense or defense in college, he said both positions have its benefits.
“Running back would be nice since I’ve played it since second grade,” he said, “but I played defensive back the last few years and I love playing defense and love being matched up one-on-one with a wide receiver and shutting him down.”
542dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert