<
>
Insider

Early Offer: Don't forget about Dontavious Jackson

With so many other high-profile defensive recruits still on the board, it’s easy to forget one of the best recruiting wars in the country is going on for ESPN 300 linebacker Dontavious Jackson. Plus, Iowa continues to fly under the recruiting radar, but that’s just fine with the Hawkeye coaches, and UCLA is putting together one of the Pac-12’s best receiving classes.

1. There are still quite a few top defensive players left on the board, causing blue-chip names like Dontavious Jackson to still somewhat fly under the national radar. However, for schools that made the final cut for Jackson, the No. 7 inside linebacker and 159th ranked player in the country, they have to be happy to make it to the next round. Jackson is an impact defender that cut his list of schools down earlier this week, and Florida, Florida State, LSU, Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M Michigan and UCLA all have to be happy they made his final cut. Jackson has done a good job of keeping people guessing where he might end up. One Big 12 recruiter thought he was initially a lock for Texas, but admitted Texas A&M has also made a big push for him lately. Another recruiter in the SEC said upcoming official visits that he’s still trying to schedule will go a long way toward where he ends up.

2. It’s no surprise to not find Iowa anywhere in the RecruitingNation class rankings, but that’s just fine with Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz. Ferentz prefers to recruit players that fit his system, compared to how many stars are attached to a prospect’s name. Many times that means players will need time to develop and fill out before becoming a star, but when they do, they become the foundation for a run like what’s going on this season in Iowa City. K.J. Sails could be another example of this recruiting style for the Hawkeyes. Sails, who ranks as a three-star safety and the No. 153 player in Florida, committed to Iowa Monday and scouts love his upside and his style of play should fit the Hawkeyes’ system perfectly.

3. Recruiters in the Pac-12 have paid a lot of attention to the job UCLA has been doing on the defensive side of the ball in the 2016 class, but adding ESPN 300 receiver Theo Howard to the commit list earlier this week was just what the class needed. Howard, the 34th-ranked player in California and No. 293 in the ESPN 300, helps the Bruins probably wrap up a very complete receiver class. UCLA also has Dymond Lee, Darian Owens and Marquis Lawson on board, but Howard is the explosive playmaker the Bruins were hoping for in this class. While the overall group might not rank as the best-of-the-best in the Pac-12, a rival recruiter gave the UCLA haul very high marks.

“I think they did a great job of evaluating their receiver targets,” the Pac-12 assistant said. “They got some guys that aren’t in the top 100 lists, but if you really watch them on film, they got some good ones.”