In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet a player who literally couldn’t wait to get on campus, and one who can help shore up the Canes’ passing defense: Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Dillard 4-star DB Antoine Jackson.
In an effort to help build the future of the defensive secondary, Miami turned their attention to Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Dillard DB Antoine Jackson.
Jackson was happy to jump on board with Miami and his commitment at an event on July 2nd, 2022 was Miami’s first commitment......of the 2024 recruiting class.
Fresh off a strong sophomore season, one that saw Dillard go 10-2 and make a playoff run and one that saw Jackson earn first team All-Broward accolades for his 31 tackle and 4 interceptions in 12 games, Jackson was just gaining recruiting notoriety. His offer list was exploding as well. Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Miami, and others were entering the fray early for the talented defensive back.
And, early on, Jackson continued the trend of elite DBs picking schools other than Miami. He committed to Georgia shortly after taking an unofficial visit to Athens. But, it was early. He was a 2024 recruit, and there would be time for Miami to fight back.
And fight back they would. The Canes hosted Jackson (and many, many other elite current cycle and future recruits) for multiple unofficial visits in the summer of 2022. Jackson would return to Athens for another unofficial visit to the school that held his commitment at the time, but things started to change after he attended at camp at UM.
Reconsidering his future, Jackson decided that he’d rather stay home and play in South Florida. So, a week after the camp he attended, Jackson decommitted from Georgia and flipped his commitment to the hometown Hurricanes.
At this point, I’m sure you noticed that I’ve noted Jackson as a 2024 recruit. And that’s true. Because, that’s the class he was in.
Several months after his commitment, after looking at his academic standing and evaluating the core credits he needed to graduate high school and having a very serious conversation with his family, Jackson announced a major decision: he would be reclassifying up to the 2023 class. This meant that Jackson was going to graduate a year earlier than originally planned, and in that instant, Miami added another blue chip defender to the current year’s recruiting class. Sure, that takes a blue chip talent off the board for 2024, but getting Jackson on campus in this class is a trade I’m willing to make.
While I’ve noted that other players are old for their recruiting cycle, Jackson is most decidedly not. He was on-age for his grade as a 2024 recruit, which means he’s now among the youngest players in the country in the 2023 recruiting class. 16 years old at present and when he joins the team this summer, Jackson will turn 17 during his freshman year at Miami. Crazy, but true. Either way, he’s a dynamic player, and a big get to keep home at Miami.
On the 247sports composite, Jackson is a 4-star prospect, the #16 S nationally, #45 in the State of Florida, and #218 player overall in this class.
Jackson committed to Miami over offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, and Oklahoma from a list of 18 offers from around the country. Because I know some people will bring it up, Jackson did take an official visit to East Carolina in December, but that situation has layers to it and he was never going to go there. Just....trust me on that one.
As A Player
Jackson has a tall and lean build at 6’1” 170lbs. Obviously, he’ll need to add some weight in college, but that is something that should come over time. Jackson has good speed, but he isn’t the fastest player on the field. Still, he shouldn’t be a liability based upon his athletic profile.
In HS, Jackson showed great versatility. He played in all 3 phases of the game for Dillard, logging the majority of his time at CB, but also playing WR, returner, and even rush on punts (he blocked a couple punts this year). While he figures to say on defense in college, Jackson’s versatility can be an asset still. He could find a home at either CB or S, depending on the needs of the team. That flexibility is a bonus for sure.
Because of his time on offense (where he made a couple very nice catches in the past), Jackson has very good ball skills. He can challenge receivers at the point of catch, and given the opportunity, he can come away with his share of interceptions.
Here’s another eval of Jackson by 247sports Director of Scouting Andrew Ivins:
A true South Florida defensive back that has been playing press-man coverage since he was a youngster. Measured in at roughly 6-foot, 175 pounds summer before junior season. Has some additional length in the arms with a wingspan that stretches just under 76 inches. Hasn’t tested in a few years, but has looked explosive on Friday nights and then again on the camp circuit. High football IQ can cause plenty of issues for opposing quarterbacks as he’s quick to jump routes and take away throwing windows. Ball skills are some of the best we have seen to date in the Sunshine State for the 2024 cycle as he’s competitive in the air and can go up and get a ball. Has been deployed primarily as an outside cornerback at the high school level and had plenty of success picking off four passes as a sophomore. Could probably stick at corner, but ceiling might ultimately be highest as a field safety given how he reacts to what’s going on in front of him and physical play style. Should be viewed as a future Power Five starter and possible all-conference type of player based upon everything we know so far.
- Needs to add some weight
- Can add functional strength
- Final future position unclear
Based upon his incredible youth, Miami can afford to be as cautious with Jackson’s development as needed. If things click and he can push for playing time early, great. If it looks like he’s gonna need a mango season or two to get his bearings, that’s also fine. Again, Jackson will be 17 years old his entire freshman season. With that kind of youth, the time horizon for his development is long, so there’s no need to rush if things don’t gel right away.
As noted above, Jackson will need to find a home at either CB or S. Once done, he should be able to develop into a starting player on Miami’s defense down the road. As evidenced by his Alabama and Georgia offers, Jackson is an elite talent that some of the best teams in the country wanted to get on their roster. Now that he’s a Hurricane, it’s up to all parties to make his career in Miami as good as it could have been elsewhere, or better. If things come together, Jackson should be a multi-year starter and on a path to the NFL when his Miami career is done.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.