Neptune Beach (Fla.) Fletcher star receiver Kalif Jackson was offered by Florida this week and he was quick to snap the offer up and commit to being a Gator, something he knew would eventually come for him.
“It was great,” said the 6-foot-4.5 Jackson about the commitment. “It was a weight lifted off my shoulder and now I can just focus on my senior year.
“I knew it would happen, eventually. I had the feeling they were extremely interested in me. I thought if I didn’t go to camp I might have to wait until half way through the season.”
Jackson is a play maker, and a guy that can go to the tallest of heights to grab the ball out of the air. This is what intrigued the gator staff about him. But, they also believe he will be bigger down the line and that the hybrid “B” position is the spot that suits him best in the Florida offense. Jackson agrees with that notion.
“They like my size, and my ability to go get the ball,” he said. “They think my body can support 30-35 more pounds and still be agile. They want to use me as a wide receiver /hybrid.
“I gained 15 pounds last year and this is high school. My brother is about 4 and-a-half years older than me, when he was in college he was about 240 pounds. I thought about it before and it doesn’t really bother me.”
If there was some consternation about playing the position, you would never know it now.
“I have no objection to blocking, but I am a wide receiver, so I want to catch the ball,” he said about the specialized position at Florida that lines up in the slot to catch the ball. “I want to make plays with the ball in my hands and I can still make plays without the ball in my hands. I can get in a two-point stance, or spread out wide, or move in motion and cause matchup problems.”
He still has a lot to learn about the Florida offense and what his role would be in that offense.
“I plan on going to practice this upcoming month to see what they do,” Jackson said. “I will go to some games to see it live.”
He Gators are in a little of no-man’s land this year. Coming off of a 4-8 season, a lot of the public are second guessing what is going on in Gainesville. Jackson believes the Gators are in for a much better season in 2014.
“They are going to bounce back,” Jackson said. “What ever happened last year was last year. A new offensive coordinator and receiver’s coach I have faith they will bounce back. Because I am a hybrid, I talk to the receiver coach, the tight end coach, Coach Roper, and Coach Muschamp.
The feeling of being a Gator is maybe more than he thought it would be.
“My mom went to Florida Law,” Jackson said. “She is happy and my father is happy as well.“It means a lot. My mom was a Gator. My head football coach was a Gator. The AD went to Florida. In the last couple of days, when people found out I committed, there has been a lot. The Gator Nation is real. The fans are real, the support is amazing, and I am ecstatic being a Gator.”