Jaeden Jackson is a small-town kid and might be a bit undersized, but don’t let that fool you.
If you defined Jackson by his recruiting profile, you’d be selling him short. His production, the attention he commands and his pure ability speak for themselves. And big-time colleges around the country, like Clemson, are starting to take notice of the 2023 defensive lineman from Alabama’s George W Long High School.
Jackson (6-1, 267) is very quick, he’s scrappy and active with his hands.
“I go against kids that are bigger than me, taller than me, but not as quick and I’m just as strong as some of the bigger guys,” Jackson told The Clemson Insider. “It takes a lot for a guy to go with me for four quarters. I command a lot of double teams in high school, for my guys to make plays on the backend.”
Clemson hasn’t offered Jackson just yet, but the Tigers are in communication with him weekly. Jackson recently caught up with TCI regarding what he’s been hearing from Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables and defensive tackles/recruiting coordinator Todd Bates.
“In the beginning, they reached out to me and Coach Venables let me know who he was and what school and all of that. I was just shocked,” Jackson said. “My dad was telling me that Coach Venables is considered to be one of the best defensive-minded coaches in the world. The word Clemson speaks for itself over the years, them being one of the top programs in the country. It felt really good.”
Venables let the fast-rising Alabama prospect know that Clemson was going to start the recruitment process with him and that they like everything about him, according to Jackson. While Bates mentioned getting Jackson to Clemson, getting him on campus and getting him to a game and letting him “feel some of the atmosphere and the Tiger Walk.”
What does that all mean to Jackson?
“At the time I was just trying to gather it and soak it all in,” he said, “because just being from a small school at GW Long in Skipperville, Alabama, you just don’t get that kind of stuff. But, I was always told that if you’re good, they’ll find you. For that type of program to be able to reach out to me and those coaches to be hands-on, it felt really surreal. I didn’t know if it was real at the time.”
Jackson mentions that Tyler Clements, Clemson’s Director of On-Campus Recruiting and Jordan Sorrells, the Director of Football Recruiting, are the two coaches keeping tabs
While his father has already planned out for Jackon to visit the schools that have already offered him, Jackson will try to work out when he’s able to get up to Death Valley.
“Clemson is definitely on the radar and we’re just working on the schedule to get me up there,” Jackson said. “I am definitely going to visit the Purple and the Orange.”
In addition to Clemson, Jackson mentioned schools like Michigan, West Virginia, Mississippi State, Indiana, Kentucky and Cincinnati as schools that have been standing out to him and reaching out a lot. He recently picked up an offer from Cincinnati about two weeks ago.
Jackson also mentioned schools like UAB, Auburn and Florida State, which are “on the radar,” he said.
How would Jackson say his recruitment process has been since Sept. 1?
“It’s been very fast,” he added, “I would say overwhelming. Small town kid. It just took off. I never pictured the things that are happening and in the fashion that it’s happened for me, but I’m very blessed. I’m very humble. I’m willing to work hard, more so in the classroom than anything.”
When it comes to a school at the next level, he’s looking for a home away from home.
“I like the small towns,” Jackson said. “The small towns bring everybody together and Clemson is not your typical big city or anything like that. It’s a college town. When you have that, you have more people supporting you, you have the program behind you, you have the coaches behind you. You don’t have all the outside stuff that can be a distraction. I love the small-town colleges. The bigger cities don’t really catch my eyes like that. But, it’s all about the best fit. If it’s the best fit and that school wants me, then that shows where I need to be.”
The NFL wasn't the only thing playing Thursday night #72 coming right at you 👉🏾 @GWLongFootball @JMac_Sports @DexPreps @DC_Sports_706 @RWrightRivals @LateKickJosh @Dussttin @SylvieSparksTV @BenThomasPreps Rebels wins Turn up 💪🏽 🔥 🔥 pic.twitter.com/LTNXmgIfhY
— Jaeden Jackson (J. Buggie) (@BuggieJaeden) October 1, 2021