A phone call from a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer quarterback almost resonated with Sam Jackson to the point the offensive lineman would waver from Central Florida.
But Jackson, a hard UCF commit since last summer, wasn’t swayed by South Florida’s last-ditch effort to gain his services.
Jackson signed with the Knights during national signing day at Lakewood Ranch High on Wednesday.
“When I committed, I was done because that’s just how I am,” Jackson said. “... It was a couple weeks (when USF got into the mix) and they kind of pulled at my heartstrings because it was Shaun King who called my coach. Shaun King played for the Bucs and that’s my favorite team, so it was funny.”
Jackson was one of two football players celebrated in the school’s auditorium. Blauvelt Georges, a defensive back, signed with Angelo State, a Division II program in San Angelo, Texas.
Right after Mustangs athletic director Shawn Trent introduced the athletes on stage for the signing ceremony, Jackson drew the loudest cheer from friends as he signed his national letter of intent.
Friends from the football and basketball teams egged him on with shouts of his name followed by, “Take us with you.”
Jackson said he doesn’t mind the attention.
“They’re just being good friends,” Jackson said.
Lakewood Ranch head coach Mick Koczersut said sometimes as a coach you can be worried if a player is a D-I guy or not. But with Jackson, there was no question.
“From basically his sophomore year on, it was just a matter of where he wanted to go and the options he wanted to look at,” Koczersut said. “Probably out of most of the kids I’ve coached, I was the most sure he was going to be a Division I kid.”
While Jackson’s courtship with Division I UCF yielded a commitment during the summer of 2016, Georges started receiving interest late in the recruitment process.
Angelo State, though, targets potential D-I players that are late bloomers.
And the program has ties to Manatee County with assistant coach Jason Johnson, who played quarterback at Palmetto High when Koczersut was a coach there.
“So it’s kind of neat,” Koczersut said.