The Northwestern Wildcats already beat the Illinois Fighting Illini in a big, in-conference and in-state recruiting battle over four-star athlete Dareian Watkins, and now Illinois has their eyes set on revenge with four-star all-purpose back and cornerback Justin Jackson (not to be confused with the basketball recruit of the same name). Jackson is viewed as a Northwestern lean, but he is also high on the Boston College Eagles, Vanderbilt Commodores, and Iowa Hawkeyes. Although the Illini were not listed, they are hosting Jackson on a visit today and have a great chance at making an impression on Jackson, who is easily one of the top 200 recruits in the country.
Best fit as an all-purpose back in college, Jackson also has offers from the Arizona State Sun Devils, California Golden Bears, Missouri Tigers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, Syracuse Orange, Purdue Boilermakers, and Minnesota Golden Gophers.
That’s a nice list of offers, and Jackson certainly does have solid interest in both the region (the Big Ten) and abroad with offers from BC and Vandy as well. Illinois needs to make up some ground on other schools, with the in-state Wildcats being the prime enemy. The Glenbard North High star has 4.5s speed and is the sixth-best recruit in the state of Illinois, per the 247Composite. Jackson would be a big get for either school, but it would be a surprise to see Northwestern lose out on him. All three experts on 247Sports picked the Wildcats to land Jackson and thus add easily one of the three best all-purpose backs in the nation.
Jackson is a slippery back with ridiculous agility and vision to go with good speed. At 5’11”, 180 pounds, Jackson isn’t too small either and is excellent at making something happen after the catch with solid hands to help him secure the pass. One of the elite backs in the state of Illinois with ridiculous numbers to prove it, Justin Jackson is just the latest top talent to come from the state of Illinois in the 2014 class. This guy is Northwestern’s to lose at this point.