Analysis: Four-star Illinois QB/WR Sam Jackson commits to the Gophers

DanielHouse

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The Gophers received a commitment from Naperville, Illinois athlete Sam Jackson. Jackson, a four-star prospect, is the seventh-rated player in Illinois, according to 24/7 Sports rankings. He originally committed to Minnesota early last year, but re-opened his recruiting process. Jackson held offers from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Wisconsin and others.

With the addition of Jackson, the Gophers’ 2021 recruiting class currently ranks fifth nationally, according to 24/7 Sports. The only programs ahead of Minnesota are Ohio State (No. 1), North Carolina (No. 2), Florida (No. 3) and Clemson (No. 4).

Jackson has the skills and athletic ability to play multiple positions, but may project as a wide receiver in college. He posted a 4.65 40-yard dash, 4.41 shuttle and 35.6-inch vertical, according to the Opening Regional’s data. His testing specifically stands out in the explosiveness categories like the shuttle and vertical.

Jackson measures in at just 5-foot-11, but as you’ll see in the clips below, he has the necessary arm strength to stretch defenses downfield. There were several instances where he made impressive deep throws across his body. Jackson was very dynamic when moving outside the pocket and displayed what he could do in space. There were so many moments where he extended plays and made difficult throws on the run. Jackson is a dynamic weapon who has a knack for creating explosive plays. In the future, Minnesota can determine which position he will play.

He aligned at wide receiver as sophomore and had 50 catches for 900 yards and 14 receiving touchdowns. You can check out that film here:


Here’s a look at his junior film at quarterback:

 
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PitinoFan

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FYI...that 4.65 40 was as a Freshman. It’s reportedly 4.4 - 4.5 now, which makes more sense based on his highlights.
 

LakevilleBro

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Welcome Sam Jackson. Sam Jackson is a also good football name. Go Gophers!
 

HoustonTXGopher

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Definitely a WR and not a QB, put him in the slot and look out!
 

MNVCGUY

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Definitely a WR and not a QB, put him in the slot and look out!
The wildcat option could certainly be in play here as well with Jackson. Will be fun to see what the staff does with him.
 

PitinoFan

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Definitely a WR and not a QB, put him in the slot and look out!
That may end being the case, but he still sees himself as QB at the next level. I think he’s on a mission to prove everyone wrong. If he wasn’t assured an opportunity, I don’t think he would have committed here.
 

HoustonTXGopher

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That may end being the case, but he still sees himself as QB at the next level. I think he’s on a mission to prove everyone wrong. If he wasn’t assured an opportunity, I don’t think he would have committed here.
I only watched about ten plays in his highlight as a QB, not once did he sit in the pocket and throw a strike over the middle. Every play was scrambling for a a big play, which is nice, but have to throw from the pocket to be a big time QB. Excited he is with us and he will definitely be a playmaker on the field, somewhere.
 

PitinoFan

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I only watched about ten plays in his highlight as a QB, not once did he sit in the pocket and throw a strike over the middle. Every play was scrambling for a a big play, which is nice, but have to throw from the pocket to be a big time QB. Excited he is with us and he will definitely be a playmaker on the field, somewhere.
I’m not disagreeing with you, but to be fair, it doesn’t look like he had the best pass protection.

He’s retweeting people who are saying he’s a QB, rather than a receiver, so people should expect that it will take a while for him to accept the WR role, if that’s his fate. Like this one:

 

MGGopher

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Holy crap this kid is an incredible athlete. Huge arm, too -- effortless coming out. I have no idea if he'll play QB or not, but if you think that all he does is run around and turn broken plays into TD's, you clearly didn't watch the whole tape above. There's plenty of that, but there's also a lot of him standing in the pocket and delivering strikes into super tight windows. That said, it ain't a bad thing to have a highly mobile QB with a great arm. I've seen plenty of Heisman contenders the past 5 years whose HS films probably looked a LOT like Sam Jackson's.
 

GoldenRodents

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If this kid develops at the same rate as Tanner Morgan, he will be in the Heisman conversation.
 

PMWinSTP

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Maybe he can be Gophs offensive Swiss army knife...moves around to create big mismatches. Action Jackson?
 

WhoFellDownTheGopherHole?

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Just curious, i couldn't find anything online - does anyone know how old he is, do we know that he's even done growing yet?
 

skiumah1

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I'm supporting the play all over the field option. Seems like PJ would do that. Especially with Athan coming in at QB as well. I'd think you'll probably see Jackson on the field sooner than Athan just based on what he can do in different spots. A little wildcat, a little bubble screen action, maybe a deep shot here and there. Love it. I'd be a little surprised if Athan started as a freshman. Maybe see Clark or Kramer for a year.

But get this kid in space and let's let him do his thing!
 

60's Guy

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Maybe....just maybe, the plan is to keep getting electric offensive guys and just blitz the scoreboard on people with offense all night long? See if you can beat our 72 ppg? Ball control no longer....touchdowns in 60 seconds or less. Fill the stadium.

Plus, we do have the DB's coming to deal with you trying to think you can pass on us.

Or, maybe we switch gears and start adding the road graders in the trenches?
I don't care how we do it...adding more 4 stars will work out somehow. 5th in the country!!!! We are just getting started. PJ has a plan fellas.
Facetime King PJ Fleck on the loose!!!
 

Otis

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I only watched about ten plays in his highlight as a QB, not once did he sit in the pocket and throw a strike over the middle. Every play was scrambling for a a big play, which is nice, but have to throw from the pocket to be a big time QB. Excited he is with us and he will definitely be a playmaker on the field, somewhere.
Watch more, in the middle he stays in the pocket and throws darts to receivers who are tightly covered.

I watched his junior year tape and he doesn't look all that small. He breaks a lot of tackles and does not go down easily. He sure does look like Vick, no way he runs the 40 in anything over 4.5.
 

skauma

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I saw someone in the Steven Ortiz thread mention that they have their eye on Sam Jackson (nice call!) after someone mentioned that Ortiz could maybe help recruit his 7v7 teammates Phil Riley and Junior Alexander....

Did Ortiz and Jackson play on the same 7v7 team?
 

PitinoFan

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Free article. Interview with Sam Jackson’s high school coach.

HS coach has Gophers getting a "freak of an athlete" in Jackson


“.....Stine: Sam's athleticism speaks for itself. You don't get very many kids that can run a legitimate 4.4-4.5, has body control and quickness. As a quarterback, he can throw the ball 70 yards. He's got a really strong arm. When he played receiver, his hands are huge and he can make phenomenal catches. He's such a freak of an athlete.....”

 

PitinoFan

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This was retweeted by Sam. Note the reply, and draw your own conclusions.

 

Bordergopher

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Wow. I hope they give him a shot at QB. If he can eventually make reads and throw accurately, can you imagine how dynamic he could be?
 

GopherSteak

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The whole situation is awkward but who knows. The guy tweeted he was a future all B1G qb so that would been Athan is not. Only one can start.
 

SixBySix

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I, for one, am fully prepared for the 2023 Gophers to take both 1st and 2nd team All-Big 10 QBs with our base two-QB shotgun offense. Will the snap go to the Athan "The Elite Greek" Kaliakmanis for an RPO slant, or is it going to Sam "Jules WIN-field" Jackson for the wildcat option?
 
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