For months, A.J. Green, a running back described by Otis Kirk as a cross between Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, was Arkansas’ only four-star commit of the class of 2021.
That recently changed with when Texan wide receiver Ketron Jackson chose Arkansas over the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, LSU, Mississippi State, Nebraska and Ohio State.
A 6’2″, 186 pound game changer, Jackson now stands as the top-rated commit for the Hogs. His elite elusiveness and agility, paired with enough strength to run through arm tackles, is on full display in the clip below. Check out his excellent balance and ability to pick up yardage after contact.
Ketron Jackson, you are a bad, bad man. pic.twitter.com/s8o3sw3HLK— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) January 31, 2020
“I would say my speed and big play ability are a few things that stand out about my game,” Jackson told the Buzz 103.7 FM’s Wess Moore. “I can turn a slant into an 80-yard touchdown or a stop into a 90-yard touchdown. Just me being explosive and having the speed to get past the defense are a few things I feel I do very well.”
Like A.J. Green and current Hogs freshman Malik Hornsby, Jackson represents a new cohort of athletic, blazingly fast Hogs perfectly suited to offensive coordinator Kendal Briles’ up-tempo spread scheme. He runs the 100 and 200 yard meter in high school (currently Royce City), and finished third in long jump in a state competition in ninth grade.
Jackson has notched a personal-best 22.12-second 200-meter time, while leading all Dallas-area athletes in the long jump (24′ 11″) and finishing third in triple-jump (47′ 6″), according to Rivals.com.
Jackson also follows Treylon Burks, Trey Knox and Shamar Nash as the fourth four-star wide receiver to choose to play for Justin Stepp, Arkansas’ wide receiver coach. Stepp’s abilities as an ace recruiter is one reason Sam Pittman retained him as the lone coaching staff holdover from the Chad Morris regime.
“I have a great relationship with Coach Stepp,” Nash said on the Buzz 103.7’s “The Zone.” “He treats me like I’m his son, or one of his. People think he’s a great coach because not only on the field, but off the field, he treats you as one of his. He’ll treat you as his son or a close family member. He’ll give you that love and affection that most people need or probably don’t have. Then when we get on the field, he’ll treat you like a coach. It’s the best of both worlds with Coach Stepp.”
Listen to the whole Ketron Jackson interview here:
When talking with Stepp, Kendal Briles and Sam Pittman, Jackson liked the idea of immediate playing time as a true freshman in 2021-22.
“I was their No. 1 guy on their board, so when you’re someone’s No. 1 guy, you know you can go there and contribute fast,” Jackson told HawgSports.com. “Year 1, I’m trying to get down the plays and get down all the basic stuff and let my play talk on the field and have a great freshman season.”
The Hogs’ receiving corps is currently stacked, but current junior Mike Woods has said he plans to leave after this season to enter the NFL Draft, assuming he has the standout year he expects.
That means Jackson would join veterans Burks and Knox as a freshman, then potentially break through as the lead receiver the following season.
To best prepare for his last high school season and the start of his college career, Jackson told Moore he’s working on sharpening his route running. This offseason, he’s been working on getting in and out of his breaks quicker, as well as his acceleration and release from defensive backs.
Texas Recruiting Pipeline Emerging
Fellow Texans Jaedon Wilson and Lucas Coley, who both committed to Arkansas earlier this summer, also played roles in recruiting Jackson. On the Buzz 103.7, Jackson said he and Wilson, also a wideout, ran track and played football together years ago. He added they talk about doing damage together at Arkansas.
Lucas Coley, meanwhile, has been getting Arkansas recruits and commits together on a weekly basis. “He knows how to recruit real good,” Jackson said of Coley, who lives in the San Antonio area. Now, Jackson plans to recruit other members of the class of 2021 on behalf of the Hogs.
This is good news for Hog fans who were worried that the departure of Texas native Chad Morris and some of his ace Texan recruiters like Jeff Traylor would hurt the program’s recruiting efforts in that state.
A recruiting analyst’s take on Jackson
Here’s a breakdown from Rivals’ Sam Spiegelman: Jackson’s big frame and speed is complemented by a physical running style, elusiveness and twitch in space. He has straightaway speed that makes him dangerous after the catch and is a tough athlete to slow down after the fact….”
“Jackson is long-strider that can take the top off of defenses. He has natural speed and plenty of juice to get downfield and, at times, shown the ability to get past double coverage. When the balls in the air, Jackson capitalizes with a dangerous combination of getting vertical with strong hands. He’s a jump-ball aficionado and has shown the ability to make grabs over the middle and hold on through contact.”
“Jackson is a developing route-runner, which is something he’ll sharpen when he arrives in Fayetteville, but makes up for it with natural athleticism, a large catch radius and the ability to make plays when he’s covered.”
And here’s more insight, plus highlights, from Otis Kirk starting at the :30 mark:
For the latest on Ketron Jackson, go here: