Plain and simple, Tre Jackson has been to Gainesville to see the University of Florida and all the way from Baton Rouge, Louisiana that,” It really just felt like home.”
After taking almost two months to visit other programs, collect a few offers and mull over the decision, Jackson finally pulled the trigger and called Florida assistant Derek Lewis who recruits Louisiana for the Gators.
“I called Coach Lewis and he put me on the phone with Coach Muschamp,” Jackson said. “Coach Lewis told me he was very excited and said that Gator Nation got one man stronger and Friday Night Lights hadn’t even started yet.”
Due to family events Jackson was unable to make Friday Night Lights himself, but he hates missing the opportunity. He just can’t get enough of the program and community.
“I pretty much been enthralled by the school since I was really young,” he said. “I like how the coaches communicate with me and talk to me about playing time and stuff.”
Defensive back coach Travaris Robinson made an impact on him as well. When Jackson came to camp he got a first hand training course on how Robinson coaches his players.
“When I went to camp, I loved the way he coached the cornerbacks,” Jackson said. “He treats players like he is a teammate. He is really dynamic with how he coaches people.”
At 5-9.5 and 164 pounds, Jackson would have to be some kind of special to earn an offer at camp. He tries to explain his style of play and it sounds just like what the coaching staff at Florida is always looking for.
“Most people see a corner as a structured player that plays in coverages and perfect techniques,” he said. “I am more of a dirty player. I just use my athleticism to adjust to the ball. I am a ball hawk and do what I have to do to get the ball.”
Tre’s father jack Jackson starred for the Gators in the early 90’s. The lead receiver at Florida for a couple of seasons Jackson was a fan favorite and always loved his time at Florida. When the day came that his son pledged to his alma mater, it was a good day indeed.
“He was pretty excited,” Tre said. “When I called him he was just excited that I would follow in his footsteps.”
Jack was a little more reserved about it, but certainly happy it happened.
“It is good,” the elder Jackson said. “He took his time. He wanted to commit for a while and that was obviously his dream school and the one he wanted to go to. I was very happy for him to live out his dream.
“It is exciting that he wanted to follow in dad’s footsteps. I explained to him that it will bring a lot of pressure and I kind of tried to not get him to do that, but that is where his heart was so I supported him 100%.”
Jack agreed on tre’s style of play, a relentless, ball-hawking thrasher that makes life difficult for receivers.
“He’s very dynamic,” Jack said. “He is more athletic than I was. Right now he is 5-9.5 and 164 pounds. They clocked him at LSU at a 4.46. He has plenty of room to grow in three years and when I came out of high school I ran a 4.48 and I was only 5-8 coming out of high school.
“He catches punts and kickoffs. He is very dynamic in the slot as a receiver. As a corner he is tenacious. He has very good cover skills, but very aggressive when it comes to tackling.
“He prefers to play bump and run, doesn’t like to play off. He stays in your hip pocket and I think that is what impressed Florida at the camp. He is actually more uncomfortable playing off. He would rather get in your grill. He is very very athletic and explosive.”
Jack has stayed in touch with the program over the years and visits quite often, even all the way from Louisiana. He says the people in charge of the Gator program are top notch and made it even easier to see his son play for this staff.
“Obviously I was impressed with Will,” he said. “I had an opportunity to play against Will when I played at Florida. I followed him around when he was at LSU and even when he went to Texas. I was also very impressed with Derek Lewis and Travaris Robinson and was very comfortable with those guys.
“I have an old teammate in Mark Campbell as a strength coach, Terry Jackson is there. Willie Jackson hangs around a lot. I was very comfortable with the coaching staff and sports staff and have a lot in common with them.”
And his son knows all about it too.
“Tre has been going down there since he was little,” Jack said. “It’s not like he didn’t know what he was getting into. He started going to camp there with Urban Meyer, so he’s real comfortable.”
Muschamp was a big key for Tre. In the end everything was perfect for him to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I am just excited because I always wanted to play for Florida,” Tre said. “I met coach Muschamp when I first went to camp and I just love the way he coaches and his overall mentality.”