At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Of all the fine players Fred Jackson has coached in his tenure, he's the most excited about his son, Jeremy, who shoots lasers out of his eyes and reminds him of a Braylon Edwards, except fast and with giant hands made of glue. And when Jackson committed to Michigan months before the previous class even signed it seemed like this was a widely-held opinion. Every article about it mentioned hot-damn offers:
When high school senior Jeremy Jackson looks through the family mail, he commonly sees what every high school student athlete dreams of — full ride scholarships to the colleges of his choice.
Jackson cites offers from four of the top 10 football college in the land, including Florida, Louisiana State and Texas.
In addition to Michigan, Jackson had scholarship offers from Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska and North Carolina.
ESPN confirms as well. There are a bunchofScoutarticles with those claims that also add Louisville and Stanford to the docket. Tennessee even came in months after his commitment with an offer. Texas was on him "hardest." As Christopher Walken might say about hot dogs: wow.
HOWEVA: not to suggest that a member of the Jackson family might be given to exaggeration, but given the way the Jeremy Jackson story played out it's more likely that the offer-type substances listed above were "verbal" offers that, like a Les Miles letter of intent, evaporate when someone attempts to use them. When it came time to rank the kids, Jackson's offers from the best schools in the country amounted to a generic three star rating from the drop. Even Ricardo Miller, about whom more in the near future, started off with a ranking slightly proportional to the hype. Jackson checked in at Anonymous Three Star and stayed there for the duration. Rankings systems aren't infallible but when a player actually has the offers Jackson claims he did six months before the previous class signs he at least starts off a four-star.
Jackson is a big, lumbering wide receiver prospect with great size and a thick build. He is strong and knows how to use his size. He has a nice combination of size and athleticism. Possesses long arms and a wide catching radius. Comes off the ball hard and will push defensive backs off him. Looks a bit like an H-back type. He is versatile and can be effective both inside and outside. He has good hands, plucks on the run and uses his body very well to shield defenders from the ball. If it's reachable, he will make the effort and display excellent focus.
The rest of it is more of the same: "lacks great burst," "may struggle to create separation," "mismatch in the red zone," "reliable," "excels in a crowd," etc. He gets a lot of Eckstein adjectives; the evaluation screams "son of coach"; in no way does it make it seem likely that Florida and Texas offered a kid in Michigan before his junior year is over.
STRENGTHS: Jackson is a big target. He may actually be taller than his 6-3 listing in his profile. He has really soft hands. He catches the ball away from his body well, and makes it look easy. He is a better-than-average route runner as well. He will be a very reliable receiver at Michigan, and overall, was impressive on Friday. WEAKNESSES: Jackson lacks top-end speed. It shows most in his inability to separate himself from defenders on deep routes. However, he does have pretty good body control and good hands. With some added strength, he will be able to make catches with defenders on his hip. - G.L.
Is a big bodied kid who uses his body well to out-position defenders. Has good ball skills and timing and is able to go up over the top of defensive backs to make tough catches. Has fantastic hands and makes grabs in traffic. Lacks top end speed and ability to stretch the field but should be a reliable possession receiver and red zone target.
"Hands," "size," and "red zone weapon" are his assets; "speed" and "downfield threat" the negatives. Everybody hold hands and sing in harmony: the scouting report on Jeremy Jackson is unanimous. Even Jeremy Jackson agrees when talking about things to improve on:
They haven’t talked about speed, but my Dad just told me to keep working hard every day. I ran a 4.58 at camp, and I’d like to get that down to a 4.4 or 4.5. I want to improve my weight, and I can’t really improve my height at all, so I’ll focus on those. I’m assuming they want me to gain weight, they haven’t mentioned it. Rich Rodriguez isn’t influencing me on my speed either; it’s just a goal of mine. My route running and catching ability are my strengths right now, which helps.
“He is big and strong. He uses his body very well when playing against a (defensive back). He cuts very quickly and has great feet and hands,” Gildersleeve said.
“He is a good teammate. He does his job and works very hard,” Gildersleeve said. “The players on the team look for him to make big plays for us.”
Gildersleeve liked the "big and strong" part so well that he moved Jackson to tight end as he installed a veer offense; despite this he managed to call the kid's number enough for him to lead the county with 47 receptions (and 691 yards), an increase on his 42 catches (and 620 yards) as a junior. This came despite games in which he was targeted five times and had an opportunity to make a catch once.
Because his dad coached at Michigan his recruitment was extraordinarily brief and obvious save for the offers listed above, which we just covered. At Michigan he'll be a wide receiver unless he packs on a ton of weight and becomes a slight, but potentially dangerous, tight end. A side note on his potential usefulness: as a former high school TE and a gritty Gritstein of a player with excellent size and long arms, his ability to block on the edge could be a major asset in the ground/screen game.
"He brings a lot to a team," Huron coach Joel Przygodski said. "The most tangible aspect of his game can't be seen on film - he is so smart on the field. He's a very, very difficult player to game plan for. We just shake our heads at some of the things that young man has done."
When Jeremy emerged as one of Michigan’s top recruiting targets for 2010, Fred drew the role of lead recruiter. He wrote Jeremy a letter or two each week, as he did all of his prospects, explaining how much he wanted him and what Michigan had to offer. And he made regular trips to see Jeremy at Huron High School.
Other guy named Jeremy Jackson:David Hasselhoff's son on Baywatch, who put out a sex tape in 2008 and is now endorsing a product that prevents premature ejaculation, but only in Australia. AMBIGUOUS CLAUSE WOOT.
Why Greg Mathews or Tyrece Butler? Butler is probably the closer comparison since he was also around 6'4" and sticks in my memory as the Michigan WR most likely to get tagged with "lumbering," Listed at 6'3", 211, he was not a hyped recruit and ended up a bit player until his senior year, when he caught 21 passes as the #3 receiver. (Did he get injured or something? All of his passes were made in the first eight games; he registered nothing in the last five.)
Mathews, meanwhile, was considerably more hyped as a recruit—he squeaked into the tail end of the Rivals 100 on their last revamp his recruiting year—but turned out to be overrated because he couldn't really get separation from defensive backs. He did have some spectacular hands, though, and would have been a reliable underneath target if he'd had a non-freshman quarterback either of his upperclass years.
Guru Reliability: High. Yes, despite the spread between some on the rankings, when they all say the exact same things about a player there's no reason to expect anything different than the scouting reports. General Excitement Level: The opposite kind of moderate that dropped on DJ Williamson. Williamson could be anything from Braylon/Mario III to Doug Dutch II; it seems obvious that Jackson will be a solid, unspectacular contributor who would ideally be the #2/#3 receiver on the team when he is an upperclassman. Projection: Enrolled early and has a shot at playing time outside with the scant experience past the starters, but still likely to redshirt since it seems like Miller and Robinson are getting more early buzz. Probably won't see the field much until Stonum and Hemingway go; redshirt sophomore year is his first shot at playing time.
The BTN tweets singled him out from all the freshmen as a guy who "might help the team" this year, FWIW. Could have been because he was playing the best or just because he's Fred's son so they wanted to say something positive, tough to tell with those things.
The only way Jackson will play this year is if Miller or Robinson redshirts, and the likelihood of Jackson playing while Miller/Robinson toil on the bench is very, very small. I think the only chance Jackson should have of seeing the field is if one or two receivers get injured. And even then, there are one or two walk-ons who could get a few snaps here or there to preserve the redshirt.
Regarding all those offers, what are the odds they were professional courtesy? Once it clear the kid was coming here, you could give him a verbal and make him look a little better and reduce the odds anyone screamed "nepotism" over his recruitment.
There are three non-freshman outside receivers this fall, but it sounds like Odoms and maybe Roundtree will get reps on the outside due to all the talent in the slot. Combine that with two talented TE's, RBs who can catch and a solid run game and I see no reason to burn JJ's redshirt. Let him RS and bulk up.
When Tyrece came to Michigan, his mother sent The Michigan Daily a full-size OMG Shirtless poster of him. Being the gaywad, ironic people that we were, "The Rece" went on the inside of the Editorial Board room (which the door was open except when Ed Board meetings were going on so the only people who saw it were the for-the-most-part non-sports fan variety on the editorial board). He was named "The Rece" and was the patron saint of all Daily editorial board meetings from 1999 to sometime between when I graduated (2002) and the next time I visited (2004). Remember that article against fraternities rushing in the fall called "What's the Rush?" in 2000? Remember that article against fraternities rushing in the fall called "What's the Rush?" in 2001? Remember that article against the Iraq War called "What's the Rush?" in 2002? All under the watchful pectorals of The Rece.
In 2002 and 2003, Tyrece was available, but kept getting knocked down the depth chart each time some other receiver emerged. Braylon, Joppru and Bellamy all popped in 2002 as receiving targets, and Calvin Bell was ahead of Butler because of those end-arounds. Then by 2003 it was the XYZ trio of Edwards, Avant and Breaston, with Massaquoi at TE/FL. Butler's one contribution was coming from nowhere to repossess Braylon's "fumble."
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