DE Christopher (CJ) Jackson (6-4 220) of Tucker, GA has been a frequent visitor to Clemson. He was there last summer where he met up with defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall. He returned for the Miami game in November, and he was back for the junior day January 28th. Jackson was already feeling pretty good about his relationship with Hall and what he had seen at Clemson, but that Saturday on campus trumped everything else he had experienced there.
“It was a real great experience. It was my fourth time going up there, so I’m kind of familiar with it,” Jackson said. “I love going up there. I love the vibes when I go up there. As soon as I walked in, they gave applause to each recruit that walked in, just making us feel welcome as soon as we walk in. Just giving that family aspect that they always preach, that family aspect that they build off of their program. It was a great day.”
The academic side of things is huge to Jackson, and he felt Clemson checked that box with him as well.
“They are big on academics,” Jackson said. “They have a 98% graduation rate, which stood out to me. Definitely coming out with a degree will better my life for after football because you know it’s only a small percent that makes it (to the NFL). The after football is real big for me to where I commit and go. It was just great, a great vibe and a great visit. I love going up there.”
Clemson limits the number of major recruits they bring in for their junior day in an effort to make things as personable as possible. This allows for more one-on-one time with your position coach, and Jackson got that with Hall.
“He pulled us in an office, they don’t offer a lot of guys, so there was only me and one other edge guy in the room,” Jackson said. “With Coach Hall, we talk football but he really doesn’t focus on that. With Coach Hall, it’s him getting to know us and building a relationship. We can talk football when we get there. Obviously, we know we’re a good fit for what they do because they don’t offer a lot of guys, so there has to be something about us that they like. We don’t really talk about that. What we do talk about is that family. He gave us his why, why he played the game, why he’s coached the game for so long. He asked us our why and stuff like that. Just talking football, we went over formations, like what we would do in certain situations, our mental before the play, pre-snap reads and all that kind of stuff.”
Jackson is planning more visits for the spring and a summertime decision. Clemson figures to be right in the mix with him to the end.
“People ask for my top five or top ten and I don’t really have one yet,” Jackson said. “Clemson has always been up there, even before I had the offer from them and before I went up there. Clemson was always going to be up there.”
Jackson also visited Georgia Tech in January, and he has already set a March 4th visit to Alabama. He also plans to visit USC, Southern Cal, Alabama, LSU, Georgia and another trip to Clemson.