One of the biggest questions surrounding Immokalee senior football player J.C. Jackson hasn’t just been which college he will attend, but which position he will play upon getting there.
Jackson, a senior, verbally committed last fall to Florida State as a wide receiver but since has switched that commitment and his position.
Jackson intends to be a cornerback at the University of Florida.
“I’m built to play corner,” said Jackson, who is 5-foot-11, 180 pounds. “I don’t see myself as a receiver. I see myself as a shutdown corner or a safety.”
Louinelson Celian begs to differ. The senior and successor to Tshumbi Johnson as the starting quarterback of the Immokalee Indians said those looking for Jackson to abandon being a wide receiver should take another look at him.
“They’re not the ones throwing him the ball,” Celian said.
Jackson caught 46 passes for 813 yards and seven touchdowns last season in helping the Indians reach the Class 5A state championship game.
Jackson caught seven passes for 57 yards during the 21-20 title game loss to Tallahassee Godby.
“Receiver. Receiver. Receiver,” Celian said of Jackson at the Division I level and eventually the NFL. “He just has the potential to be one. He’s got great size, great speed. Every quarterback wants a player like him, who makes it easy.”
On defense, Jackson had 19 solo tackles, 23 assists and two interceptions.
“It’s a good transition for him to defensive back,” said Christopher Jackson, J.C.’s father and an Immokalee tailback in the mid-1990s with former NFL running back Edgerrin James. “I don’t know if he will play both ways, but they will find a way to get the ball in his hands, maybe on kickoff returns. You’ve got to get him the ball.”
Immokalee senior running back D’Ernest Johnson scratched his head when asked which position Jackson should play in college.
“He can make plays on both sides of the ball,” Johnson said. “That’s a hard question. I’d have to say corner, because he likes corner better than receiver.”
The wide receiver/cornerback conundrum doesn’t have to be resolved until next fall, new Immokalee coach Rich Dombroski said.
“He’s going to do both,” Dombroski said. “J.C. Jackson is one of the best athletes I’ve ever been around on the high school level. So I’m going to take advantage of that.”
Asked if he were a college coach whether he would put Jackson at receiver or cornerback, and Dombroski paused.
“That’s a great question,” Dombroski said. “I’ll answer it this way. Wherever we put him, he’s a star. There’s not a DB who can cover him, and there’s not a receiver he can’t blanket. Pick your poison. He’s a phenomenal receiver, and he’s a phenomenal defensive back.
“He’s going to play some running back, too. We’re going to play him all over the field.”