By Brian Paglia
Chris Jackson walked into the office with a pen and paper. He anticipated a long meeting with Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson, that he would be dictating diligent notes to learn everything he could about his next possible destination.
But that meeting Monday lasted less than 10 minutes, according to Jackson, and it concluded with the official decision for Jackson to transfer from Alabama to Georgia Tech, returning the former Henry County star wide receiver to where he intended to go all along.
"I'm very excited," Jackson said in a phone interview. "The fans out there of mine are still supporting me. It's wonderful for Coach Johnson to give me this opportunity."
Jackson, the former Class AAA player of the year, originally verbally committed to Georgia Tech until then-Yellow Jackets coach Chan Gailey resigned in 2008. Jackson promptly switched his commitment to Alabama.
Jackson made six tackles on special teams with Alabama. He was switched between wide receiver and defensive back more than once by Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, the last time this past spring.
But Jackson said his deciding factor in transferring was to stay closer to home.
"I just wanted to come back home," he said, "and play football again where my family can be close."
Jackson said he considered a few Atlantic Coast Conference schools, and reports mentioned Duke, Clemson and Georgia Tech specifically. But Jackson wanted to hear what the Yellow Jackets had to say first.
"We talked about the situation in leaving Alabama," Jackson said, about his conversation with Johnson. "He wanted to know if I was willing to play a-back. I said yessir, and he said I had a scholarship."
Jackson will redshirt in 2009, as virtually all transfers must, and ease his way into the a-back (slot receiver) role on the scout team. From there, he has three more years of eligibility.
And though his time at Alabama didn't go as smooth as he hoped, Jackson harbors no ill-will toward the Crimson Tide.
"I had a great oppportunity at Alabama," he said. "They were good to me. It was just time to move on. I have no hard feelings."