When the Big Ten Network labeled offensive tackle Alaric Jackson's commitment as a "huge get" they weren't joking around. A consensus 3-star recruit, Jackson is a 6'7, 285-pound high schooler. That's bigger than James Daniels. That's taller than every offensive lineman currently on Iowa's depth chart. Being that size, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Jackson grew up playing basketball and was a three-year varsity basketball player at Renaissance High School in Detroit (313!). It wasn't until his junior year that his mother was able to convince him to play football, so he gave it a shot. MLive caught up with him after his junior year and Jackson wasn't too high on himself:
"I didn't think I was that good at all, I just thought I was a big, tough kid."
He apparently impressed a lot of coaches, because scholarship offers started to flood in from the likes of Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan State and Wisconsin. And what wasn't to like about him? He played offense, defense and a total of seven different positions: RT, LT, G, TE, DT, DE and Nose. His junior year highlights:
And his senior year highlights:
Jackson shows good burst off the line and simply uses his size to push the lineman down the field in run blocking (:30, 2:25, 7:46). His basketball talents are also shown off in his pass blocking at 1:18 and 1:31. Oh, and if you want to see him catch a touchdown pass fast forward to 2:38. With this type of versatility, it's no surprise that Jackson had 10+ power 5 offers.
By the time Jackson took his official visit to Iowa and Iowa State, Hawkeye fans were confident that he'd ultimately take his talents to Iowa City. But this is recruiting season and things simply can't go smoothly. Jackson backed out of his announcement on Monday and had everyone wondering what was going on. Long story short: Harbaugh. After yanking a scholarship offer to Erik Swenson and losing Devery Hamilton to Stanford, the Wolverines were in need of some offensive line help so they came knocking on Jackson's door. Ultimately:
University of Iowa Commit #Hawkeyes ⚪️⚫️ pic.twitter.com/c8EtZprZLi— Alaric Jackson (@Alaricj_32) February 3, 2016
Jackson has the height to start as a freshman but he'll need a year (probably only one) to be the size that Kirk Ferentz likes his tackles to be. With Chris Doyle on the case, it wouldn't be surprising if Jackson is seeing playing time in 2017 and is Iowa's starting left tackle by 2018.
Welcome to the show, Mr. Jackson. We're just as excited as you are.