The high school-to-NFL pipeline has been closed due to a new rule, which was established in recent history by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
This new rule states that all NFL prospects must be out of high school for at least three years before they are eligible for the draft. This creates great opportunities for Division 1-level recruiters who are scouting high school football programs for exceptional talent.
At Boone High School in Orlando, Florida, a junior defensive lineman is catching a lot of attention from recruiters at a number of Division 1 schools. These talent scouts represent some of the nation’s best collegiate football programs.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Boone High’s Shambre Jackson (pictured) is the exceptionally talented defensive lineman who has been the center of all this attention. At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Jackson is a threat at any defensive line position.
For a young man his size, he has above average athleticism. Jackson told The Sentinel that he prefers lining up at defensive end over defensive tackle because he gets double-teamed more as a down lineman in the middle.
That is probably because speed and agility from the defensive tackle position strikes fear. The ends primarily have one job, which is pass rushing from around the edge. A tackle that can stop the run and pass from the middle efficiently is extremely dangerous.
However, Jackson’s raw talent alone is not the only thing that makes his personal story so compelling. Even though he still has two more academic years left in high school, the list of colleges that have been courting him is pretty long.
It all started this past spring when Jackson was offered a football scholarship from the University of Central Florida in his backyard in Orlando. Since then, offers have piled up from Pittsburgh, Troy, Georgia Southern, and other schools.
However, an offer from the Gators ball club of the University of Florida in Gainesville is what has peaked Jackson and his father’s attention the most. Shambre’s father, Vincent Jackson, has been actively involved in the activities surrounding his son’s passion for sports.
Vincent is actually my first cousin. It has been a joy to see the pride he exhibits over his son Shambre’s rise to prominence. I conducted a phone interview with both of them today as they had wrapped up Friday Night Lights activities the previous day.
“First of all, Friday Night Lights is a big deal all around the NCAA football world. We’re talking a D-1 prospects camp like no other in the country. It’s part of a dream come true for my son and I couldn’t be any happier or prouder of him as his father,” Vincent said.
Shambre and his father were still in Gainesville at the time of my phone interview with them. The excitement of the whole atmosphere was still there and Shambre definitely shared his father’s vast amount of enthusiasm.
“Like I told [The Sentinel], I had no idea the Gators were that serious about recruiting me. I know who Ron English is (Gators safeties coach) and I’d known that he knew who I was. But I never thought they’d be so serious so soon,” he said.
As for now, this father-son duo is just soaking in all the sensational triumphs of the moment while remaining focused on the long haul.
“It’s all exciting but I’ll never stop putting in the hard work that got me where I am today. For me, it’s all about getting better with my personal training and learning from the greats watching film. I still have a lot of time to grow,” Shambre told me.
Vincent’s fatherly take on the future had the strength of his own wisdom with a dash of healthy and almost LaVar Ball-style bravado. But it’s all in good faith. There is nothing more commendable than seeing a father fuel his son’s dreams by any means.
“We’re still here in Gainesville sinking it all in, you know. At the same time, we got to focus on the long haul, right? Think about it! A whole lot of NFL greats came out of Florida,” Vincent said.
“The Percy Harvins the Wilbur Marshalls, and the Emmitt Smiths of the world…they all came from Gators gridiron, you know what I’m saying, fam? So that’s what the generational aspect of this is about; achieving greatness without apologizing,” he said.
The future certainly looks great for Shambre Jackson. There would not be any denying that from me even if I were not his relative. Destiny is destiny; whether the bloodline recognizes it or not. But you’ve got my respect and support for life, fam.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.