FootballFootball Recruiting

Four-star Jackson picks Texas

Ja'Quinden Jackson (courtesy photo)
Ja’Quinden Jackson (courtesy photo)

While at Texas, Tom Herman has often recruited or targeted a quarterback from one of the state’s top high school football powerhouses. Today, Herman was able to land a commitment from Duncanville four-star QB Ja’Quinden Jackson.

In 2016 upon his arrival, he and Westlake’s Sam Ehlinger immediately clicked. For the 2019 class, with some help from Ehlinger, Herman locked up one of the best QBs the Golden Triangle has ever produced, Port Neches-Groves’ Roschon Johnson. For the 2020 class, Herman already has Hudson Card of Lake Travis in the fold.

Jackson is one of the most electric athletes in the nation for the 2020 cycle. Throughout his recruitment, he expressed the desire to continue to play quarterback at the collegiate level. Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck had no problem meeting that demand. Throw in the connection with current Texas QC coach Ra’Shaad Samples, the son of Duncanville head coach Reggie Samples, and Texas became the clear choice for the best player on the best team in the Metroplex.

Excerpt from the Recruiting Notebook

Ian Boyd on how Jackson fits at Texas: I still think Jackson has a really high upside as a spread-busting linebacker flipping over to defense. His vision and first step are phenomenal and combined with his already 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame could make for an elite ILB.

But on offense he also has a ceiling as a game-changer. As the QB for the Duncanville Panthers he utilizes his size and speed to generate power in their power and iso run game but he’s at his best on sweeps to the perimeter where he can get out in space and utilize excellent start/stop quickness and 4.6 long speed to breakaway for big runs. He averaged 9.1 yards per attempt his junior year as a passer while rushing for 10.1 yards per carry.

As a thrower he can be accurate to his first read but he’s not currently on track to graduate from Duncanville with AP credits in spread passing 101. As a QB his ceiling would come after a redshirt and a few years to learn how to tie footwork to progressions and how to read defenses and he’d probably be a 170+ carry volume runner to maximize. He could also develop into a hybrid weapon along the lines of LJ Humphrey or Jordan Whittington, utilizing unreal quickness with plus size to create matchup problems. Once again though, he’d need time to develop as a route runner.

Coach says: Strengths – Well-proportioned. Good height. Room to add bulk in lower body. Doesn’t seem to be done growing. Good take away from snap with good ball position. Good vision and excellent patience in the QB run game. A tough, long striding runner who will lower the shoulder. Top speed is probably just above average for a dual threat QB. Very elusive at times as he sets up defenders. Has some big play ability with his feet and leadership as shown in state playoffs. Moves the safeties and shows some across the field reads. Ball placement is usually good after what is usually an overhand release.

Areas for Improvement or Concern – Acceleration seems a bit slow. Isn’t going to outrun college defenses routinely. Loses some speed on change of direction. Does not always establish his throwing base. Throwing motion is elongated much of the time. Several throws show a late release with dipping nose. Doesn’t rotate the ball consistently resulting in loss of power. Does not drive the ball consistently anywhere but short middle and has many “all arm” throws. Loses accuracy on the move. Highlights show several off balance throws that didn’t need to be. Does not consistently climb the pocket. Highlights are frequently tight angle shots not showing the pass pattern. Doesn’t consistently see the open receiver (in some cases deep middle with arms waving) until late. Will drop the ball to his waist sometimes. Would like to see more upper body strength (i.e., with stiff arm) to fend off tacklers.

Jackson is the sixth member of Texas’ 2020 class joining Jaden Hullaby (Bishop Dunne), Jaylen Garth (Port Neches-Groves), Jake Majors (Prosper), Logan Parr (Helotes O’Connor), and Hudson Card (Lake Travis).