Photo by Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy tight end A.J. Jackson says he will sign with Auburn on National Signing Day in February. The senior made the announcement over the Memorial Day weekend after visiting the campus.
Saying it “has everything” he was looking for in a college, Lovejoy tight end A.J. Jackson decided to commit to Auburn over the Memorial Day weekend.
The 6-foot-6, 245-pounder made the announcement while attending Auburn’s “Big Cat” event this past weekend.
“I just felt the right vibe there,” Jackson said Tuesday before his team hosted a summer passing league event. “Auburn has everything I’m looking for in a school, with academics and athletics. And it was perfect timing to commit with my family here and everything.”
Jackson said he chose the Tigers over South Carolina, Missouri, Virginia and Clemson.
“It was real close with Auburn and South Carolina,” said Jackson, who is also a member of the Lovejoy basketball team. “I think I just had a better vibe with the Auburn coaches.”
A hybrid-type receiver, Jackson will play as a tight end, wide receiver and slot receiver for in the Tigers’ offense, which hired Scot Loeffler in January to replace Gus Malzahn, who accepted the Arkansas State head coaching job. Loeffler has coached on both the NFL and collegiate level.
“I had a great one-on-one conversation with Coach Loeffler,” Jackson said. “He told me that they plan to use me in several ways.”
In helping Lovejoy to the Class AAAA title game, Jackson had 15 receptions for 151 yards and four touchdowns on the season. He had a touchdown reception in the Wildcats’ championship game loss to Tucker at the Georgia Dome.
“I’m proud for A.J.,” Lovejoy coach Al Hughes said. “He will do a good job for them. He offers a unique combination because of his size and ability. He is not just a big tackle that can catch. He is a big guy that is athletic. Auburn is a good school with a proud tradition. I don’t think there could have been a better place for him.”
Jackson is considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, a national scouting service that tracks players’ recruitment. He was listed as the No. 20 tight end in the country by the service.
While Jackson was mainly being recruited as a tight end, some schools considered using him as a pass rusher from the defensive end position.
“He is definitely a threat on offense,” Hughes said. “Even if the ball is not being thrown at him, defenses have to know where he is at on the field. He definitely opens things up for the offense.”
So far, Auburn has received 10 verbal commitments for the 2013 signing class, with five from Georgia. Verbal commitments are non-binding and players are free to change their minds. National Signing Day is on Feb. 6, when players can sign their national letters-of-intent to make it binding.
Jackson is the second member of the Lovejoy rising senior class to make a college commitment. On April 2, running back Travis Custis became the first to commit to Georgia Tech for the 2013 signing class.
“I really like when they go ahead and commit and get it over with,” Hughes said. “I think that works out well for the players.”