Varsity Preps

Ian Jackson, #22 in Arkansas 25 for 2015

Photo courtesy of the Southwest Times Record

An inside linebacker with outside linebacker speed is a weapon. Players like that are great additions to defenses because not only now can that player stop the run inside like any player at that position could, but they can also cover the middle of the field not just against the slower tight ends, but against inside receivers that would burn most linebackers man-to-man.

Ian Jackson possesses outside linebacker speed, but plays on the inside. The former Fort Smith Southside linebacker, and now Fayetteville High School product is looking to prove that he is the top linebacker in the state this next season. It is not just all about speed with Jackson either. Jackson has great backfield vision and reads his keys well. His pursuit angles are solid, but could be polished up. Jackson’s speed is able to make up for some of the poor angles and is still able to make the play. At the college level though, that speed will not be able to be used as a crutch for bad pursuit. Jackson is just an overall fundamentally sound linebacker. He breaks down and makes full, clean tackles that are hard to be broken away from. Part of that is a testament to his ability, and to his linebacker coach at Southside Steven Thessing.

Jackson does not currently have any offers, but is being evaluated by schools like Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Arkansas State and Ole Miss. With Jackson now attending school in Fayetteville, this will allow him to have more exposure to the coaches at Arkansas that will only be a few blocks away. All four of the schools are evaluating Jackson fairly hard. Arkansas State also recruited Jackson’s brother Isaac this last year before he committed to playing at Louisiana Monroe. Jim Cheney of Arkansas has been one of the main recruiters for Jackson, just as Dave Wommack of Ole Miss has done.

Jackson has a pretty interesting connection to Oklahoma State. Jackson’s father attended Oklahoma State at one point as a quarterback before transferring. Both Ian and Isaac Jackson were recruited by Mike Gundy and his staff due to the family connection that the Jackson’s have.

The Verdict: This move from Fort Smith to Fayetteville for Ian Jackson may pay off huge dividends for him in terms of where he plays college ball.  Fayetteville has another great team forming for this next season, and will be poised to make another state title run. Jackson will be surrounded by great players, and that will allow him to play more loosely and make plays more easily. Jackson has a lot of upside with his speed and size. Now he needs to showcase that upside this summer, and he should gain some pretty decent offers. It is hard for an athlete like him to be overlooked when there are so many positive qualities. Jackson has top 15 player in the state potential, it just needs to be realized. Maybe that will happen this summer.

Pros: Speed, Fundamentals

Cons: Relying too much on speed, Pursuit angles need polish

Check out Ian’s Hudl Page: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1415347/ian-jackson

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