Seven lucky schools have made the cut in the race to land 4-star linebacker Dontavious Jackson.
Via his Twitter account, Jackson announced a final group that includes Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Texas and UCLA.
The 6’2”, 239-pounder has already taken official visits to Florida State and UCLA, and he has another scheduled to see Michigan on Nov. 28. He also took an unofficial visit to LSU in September.
With his list narrowing and his timeline for making a decision rapidly approaching, which program out of his final group presents him with the best fit?
Given Jackson’s skill set as a prototypical inside linebacker and his ability to still be effective in pass coverage, the nation’s No. 5 inside linebacker and No. 119 player overall in the 2016 cycle has the chance to be a difference-maker at a number of programs.
In looking at how he’s constructed his list, it’s clear that he’s identified a group of schools that have fared well in recent years in producing elite defensive players.
Additionally, aside from UCLA, and to a lesser degree Alabama, the other programs on the list are desperately in need of quality linebackers in the 2016 class.
In particular, all of Michigan’s top seven linebackers are upperclassmen, with five being seniors, according to Ourlads.
During the team’s bye week in late October, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh made a stop to see Jackson in person, according to Steve Lorenz of Wolverine247. That factor alone signifies how he’s viewed in terms of being a priority for Michigan down the stretch.
However, in terms of need and fit, Jackson’s best opportunity may lie in staying in-state and playing for Texas.
He’s taken a number of visits to Austin, and he is scheduled to be in town this weekend on an unofficial visit for the Longhorns game against Kansas.
As noted by Horns247, Jackson has developed a strong bond with Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong and his staff.
“It’s not that far from home,” Jackson said. “I have family there. The coaching staff makes me feel like they want the best interest for me. They make me feel at home.”
He can also take a look at the success that current Longhorns true freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson is having in his first season under Strong’s tutelage.
According to cfbstats.com, Jefferson already holds a starting position and is tied for second on the team with 45 tackles.
With playing time available and a head coach with a noted reputation for developing stud defensive prospects, Jackson has ample reason to shun his out-of-state suitors in favor of staying close to home for college.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.