Ohio State added another key piece to its highly ranked 2018 recruiting class, bringing another talented prospect to Urban Meyer’s program. What will the Buckeyes’ latest commitment, Antwuan Jackson, bring to Columbus, on and off the field?
After a last minute decision to commit to Auburn instead of Ohio State in December of 2015, defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson capitalized on a rare chance for a do over. Today, as a junior college player at Blinn (Texas) College, he committed to the Buckeyes, the team many believe he wanted to pick two years ago.
What is Ohio State getting from this big addition? Let’s take a look at the newest Buckeye.
Antwuan Jackson as a football player
When he was coming out of Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.) as a member of the Class of 2016, Antwuan Jackson was regarded as the country’s 51st-overall prospect and seventh-ranked defensive tackle. That was well-deserved as a prep standout: Jackson had 31 tackles for loss in his junior season. But after a redshirt season at Auburn, what he is now as a player is a bit unknown.
What is known is that his quick first step and powerful hands made him a highly sought-after recruit once, and with offers from Ohio State, Alabama, USC and others this time around the recruiting carousel, it’s obvious a number of major coaches believe he can live up to his lofty potential. What else is known? The coaches at Auburn didn’t believe Jackson bought in entirely to what they were asking of him.
“Antwuan could be a really good player,” Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner said in March. “He still has to get a better grasp on the type of effort and execution that it’s going to take to perform at this level. That’s been his biggest thing, just learning that, hey, you have to be willing to strain. You have to be willing to get uncomfortable to be able to become a great player.”
Jackson is listed at 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds on the Blinn website, meaning that he’s likely another potential option as a 1-tech for the Buckeyes defensive line. In his first two games for the Buccaneers, Jackson has recorded three sacks and 15 total tackles from his defensive tackle spot.
Ohio State isn’t the place for football players who are afraid to push themselves to the limit. If the Buckeyes coaching staff had any doubt about Jackson’s potential and probability for success, they wouldn’t be willing to bring into their program.
Antwuan Jackson’s role in the 2018 recruiting class
With the addition of Jackson, Ohio State maintains its lead over Texas as the country’s top-ranked 2018 recruiting class. JUCO prospects do not impact the team rankings on the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
The second defensive tackle in the Buckeyes 2018 class, Jackson will complement 5-star prospect Taron Vincent. Ohio State will continue to pursue Highlands (Pocatello, Ida.) High School defensive tackle Tommy Togiai as well.
Jackson was a top target for the Ohio State coaches in the Class of 2016, as noted, and he was very close with both Jonathon Cooper and Nick Bosa in that class. He’ll find himself a natural fit when he arrives in Columbus. He’ll have three seasons of Ohio State football of eligibility remaining.
Who is Antwuan Jackson off the field?
Jackson was always a polite, easy-going but private kid when I covered him in recruiting back in 2015. He didn’t want to talk much, and really wasn’t into the spotlight that his recruitment put him under.
If you’re looking for a little glimpse into who Jackson is, you don’t need to look much further than his recent transfer from Auburn. When the Tigers coaching staff restricted his ability to transfer to the schools he wanted to – Ohio State and South Carolina at the top of the list – he didn’t attack them. Instead, he offered a measured, reasoned response.
“My question was: Why are they blocking Ohio State for no reason?” Jackson said. “They just put Ohio State on there for no reason. My question to them is why are they blocking me from a Big Ten school when they don’t have anything to do with Big Ten schools? Why didn’t they block me from Michigan or Indiana or any other Big Ten school? Why would they do that immediately?
When his appeal was denied and his transfer to Blinn complete, Jackson still took the high road.
“I would like to thank the former/current Auburn coaches for giving me the opportunity to play football at the next level,” He wrote. “I had a great experience at Auburn. I have a lot of love for [Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who] I knew five years before committing to Auburn. … There are no hard feelings between myself and the coaches.”