Phoenix North Canyon offensive lineman Austin Jackson, azcentral sports’ No.1 2017 recruit, is the last of the state’s top football seniors yet to announce his college decision.
That will come Wednesday on signing day at North Canyon, where he wants to shed the spotlight on the school and four of his teammates, who will be signing their football letters with Scottsdale Community College.
For Jackson, it is down to Arizona State, USC and Washington.
MORE RECRUITING: Mountain Pointe’s Isaiah Pola-Mao commits to USC
“When I narrowed it down, I wanted to keep it in the West, keep my resources close,” said Jackson, 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, who made azcentral sports’ All-Arizona team the past two seasons. “I made it clear to all of the other schools that this was it.”
Jackson said he never thought he would wind up as highly recruited as he is with more than 20 offers. It started to pick up his sophomore year, but he didn’t see it getting this big. He was a three-sport athlete coming through North Canyon, where he also played basketball and threw the shot and discus in track and field.
He has a national football player ranking composite of 35. He is a five-star by Scout, which ranks him 30th in the nation and fifth at his position. Rivals gave him four stars and a No. 77 national ranking. He is ranked 21st nationally by 247Sports.
“Not even close,” Jackson said about anticipating his recruiting blowing up the way it did. “I never saw this coming.”
Jackson isn’t offering any clues to which Pac-12 school he will choose.
He said each school offers things he likes.
Coach Jose Lucero, who led North Canyon to a 6-4 record in his only season, is helping stage Wednesday’s signing event for Jackson and teammates Trevor Leinstock (quarterback), Samson Enis (wide receiver/defensive back), Israel Oloyede (running back) and Andreja Djokic (offensive lineman).
“He’s upfront with the schools,” Lucero said. “It came down to three and he’s been talking to just them. He stays pretty quiet. I’ll check in with him every day to see how it’s going, and he says it’s good.”
My guess here is that it will be USC, where he would join Phoenix Mountain Pointe safety Isaiah Pola-Mao, who announced his commitment Friday.
Family ties may prevail. He lived in California, before moving to Arizona in the eighth grade.
Jackson’s grandfather played football at USC in the 1970s.
Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-316-8827. Follow him at azc_obert