Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry is about the ongoing recruiting relationship with 2021 Central-Phenix City (Ala.) receiver Jackson Meeks.
Jackson Meeks has arrived at a unique intersection in his football career. The curiosity here is if he even knows it yet. That’s the first string of information we will share about Mr. Meeks today.
This chronicle could begin with his offer from the University of Georgia back on Aug. 25.
— •Jack• (@_7JMEEKS) August 25, 2020
That was eight days ago. What did his offer list look like prior to that move by Georgia receivers coach Cortez Hankton?
- Offers prior to UGA: Texas State, Liberty, South Alabama, Appalachian State and West Virginia.
- Meeks offers since: None
Those two bullet points certainly tell a story. When an elite program like Georgia extends an offer, it usually opens the floodgates for others of the Power 5 variety.
“I still love that Georgia offer,” Meeks said. “I love that they gave me a chance with everything I have been through to come to play there.”
That offer stands alone. It hasn’t stopped Georgia’s pursuit. Meeks hears from multiple members of the Georgia program daily. That’s Hankton and defensive line coach Tray Scott and head coach Kirby Smart, among many others.
“I feel the love if you understand what I am saying,” Meeks said. “I feel that they know what I’m capable of. That’s why hey went ahead and pulled the string on the offer. They didn’t hesitate at all and realize I could work out there if I was there with them and be their kind of player. I would be a good team player and play my role.”
He has spoken to someone at Georgia every day since that offer.
“I am really feeling the love,” Meeks said. “I feel like they want me there.”
Meeks is considering speeding up his timeline for a decision. He plans to enroll early in January of 201.
“To be honest, Georgia is on the top of the board right now,” he said. “Like in front of all my other offers. They are at the top of the board. I’m really heavy on Georgia right now. A lot.”
He said he couldn’t even state the school that would be the biggest rival to Georgia at this time.
“Not that I see right now,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is catching up right now.”
Meeks said he plans on taking one of those vogue self-guided visits on his own to see UGA at this point.
The rankings on Jackson Meeks up to this point
Meeks ranks as a 3-star prospect and the nation’s No. 222 WR for the 2021 cycle on the 247Sports Composite ratings. Those listings also tab him as the nation’s No. 1623 overall prospect and the No. 60 overall player in Alabama.
To be fair to that well-respected service, that’s a rating for a different player. That was the Meeks everyone saw last fall who was still waiting his turn and wasn’t getting gobs of playing time bouncing back from a season-ending injury during his sophomore year.
The 2020 model Jackson Meeks has exploded for big numbers early into his senior season.
- Week 1 vs. Hoover: 13 catches, 230 yards, 3 TDs (with one called back)
- Week 2 vs. Eufaula: 9 catches, 130 yards, 2 TDs
The scouting report on Meeks began with his work against one of the top high school programs in the country in Hoover. That’s at least in terms of how he has been tracked by the Georgia coaching staff.
When one wonders about the need to play football in the midst of a global pandemic, the Alabama High School Athletic Association has found a way to do so safely. Those game tapes have also certainly elevated Meeks in the eye of any big boy coaching staff like the one at Georgia.
Prior to that, he had gone to a football camp at UGA back when he was in the ninth grade. He said that the performance against Hoover was really his “audition tape” for the Georgia offer.
It was also an offer earned without the splintered scouting that sometimes takes place at camps or via evaluation in shorts from a 7-on-7 performance. This was an old school offer based straight off of the game film.
“I still love that offer,” Meeks said. “I love that they gave me a chance with everything I have been through to come to play there.”
What does Georgia see in Jackson Meeks?
Georgia has been seeking that speed demon receiver so far in the 2020 cycle. That’s evident by checking out the pursuit of national names like Marcus Burke, Malcolm Johnson, Jr., Dont’e Thornton, Mario Williams and Xavier Worthy, among others.
Those guys are all burners. How does Meeks settle in with that criteria?
“I think he is a guy with really good speed regardless,” Central-Phenix City coach Patrick Nix said. “Now, he’s not going to be that small burner that just can fly by everybody but his combination of size and speed is really good. He’s not going to be the biggest receiver, but very big. He’s not going to be the fastest receiver, but very fast. He has the combination of things there and he is only going to get faster coming off that knee injury right around two years ago. He’s only going to get faster and he trains and gets stronger coming off that.”
“I really think he’s going to be that guy who has the size and can do all those things you want as a receiver but he has that speed where he can separate and put himself at a whole different level.”
Georgia has also keyed him in on the plan for the 2021 recruiting class at his position.
“I feel like they want me there,” Meeks said. “They are only taking two receivers this year and they have already got one. That has got to say something.”
Those elements cover where the Meeks narrative has gone since he picked up that offer from the Bulldogs. And yet that still leaves a better story to tell regarding this explosive young wideout.
Jackson Meeks: The rest of the story you need to know
He has big-time football in his family. His uncle, Za’Darius Smith, starred at Kentucky. Smith recently signed a 4-year, $66 million dollar extension with the Green Bay Packers.
“That relationship means a lot to me,” Meeks said. “I spend a good amount of time with him. He’s where I want to be.”
Meeks had the promise this spring to play for Cam Newton’s talented 7-on-7 program. That’s a no-scrub zone when it comes to offensive playmakers.
If one is looking for further talent validation than the UGA offer which currently still stands by itself, then that will add some verification to his skill set.
He has sprouted this fall from a program that has sent talented receivers like Justyn Ross (Clemson) and E.J. Williams (Clemson) to Saturdays of late.
The knee injury he suffered four games deep into his sophomore year is a prime reason why his rankings are not rated higher. It was, he said, the toughest road of his life so far.
“The tough moment for me probably was when I saw my team win state and I wasn’t on the field to help,” Meeks said. “That was when I had that heart-to-heart with myself and told myself that I have got to get right back fully healthy.”
He tore his ACL and had a partial meniscus tear. Meeks doesn’t believe that it takes a full year to get back.
“I don’t believe that at all,” Meeks said. “I was back sprinting in four months and I was back cutting at five months. It just depends on your work ethic and how badly do you want to get back.”
Meeks can look himself in the mirror to say he worked as hard as he possibly could to get back and return to the player he knew he could be.
“I worked my tail off,” he said. “Every day. Doing stimulations every day on my leg. Doing one-leg squats. Watching the film with my teammates. I was always working.”
That said, he still wore a knee brace for his entire junior year. That was a precaution in place requested by his mother and his coaches.
“I didn’t do too well,” he said. “I had to wait my turn behind some seniors who were also very good players we had at receiver in front of me last year. They were all really good and they were all seniors.”
Now fully healthy, he said he still has two major pillars of motivation.
“First that is always going to be God,” Meeks said. “God is always right at my side.”
That’s why he wears the No. 7 jersey. He said it is “God’s number” because it says in the scripture that he rested on the seventh day.
He also a sincere appreciation for the role his mother Jennifer Young has played in his life.
“I have a great mother,” Jackson Meeks said. “She motivates me. She doesn’t let me be average at anything.”
Check out Meeks below from the season opener game against Hoover. His highlights are laced throughout the highlight, including touchdowns at the 0:26, 3:07 and 4:12 marks of the game highlight reel.
Coach’s view: What Jackson Meeks could be at UGA
DawgNation reached out to Central-Phenix City head coach Patrick Nix for his evaluation of Meeks. Nix is about as credentialed as any high school coach would ever be.
Nix, now most often referred to as the father of Auburn starting QB Bo Nix, also actually starred under center at Auburn, too. Patrick Nix then went on to a successful college coaching career highlighted by stints as the offensive coordinator at both Georgia Tech and Miami.
He then returned to coach Bo during high school at Scottsboro High and Pinson Valley High in Alabama. Those Pinson Valley teams won two state titles during their time here.
His description of Meeks is laced with these terms: Confident. Explosive. Good with the ball in his hands. Hard to tackle. Powerful. Smooth.
“Just the confidence he is playing with,” Nix said. “I think that from the first game he came out with so much confidence and belief or hesitation. A lot of times guys when they haven’t done it on this stage or have been hurt before they are hesitant. Last year he did wear a knee brace all year. He has not played with any reservations at all. Just very smooth and explosive.”
There’s no fear. He’s 100 percent healthy and Meeks is playing at 100 percent. Meeks wasn’t really full-speed last fall until the latter end of his junior season.
That Hoover game was the litmus. The state championship in Alabama’s highest classification continues to have to be wrestled away from that program. It has now been that way for 20 years.
“I think what makes Jackson a special player is he can do everything,” Nix said. “He can run routes. He can beat you deep. He can adjust on balls and make plays down the field. If you can just get him the ball in space, he is so hard to tackle and so explosive. He is sort of that complete receiver and not the guy who can do only one thing. He’s a great blocker. He can do everything.”
What could he be like among a squad of talented athletes like the one at Georgia?
“He’s a very good kid,” Nix said. “Very good leader and worker and does what he is asked to do. He works very hard at everything he does whether it is the classroom on or the field. I think to me that’s what sort of separates him from other guys with a lot of talent. He has talent but he also works hard with the talent. He wants to be great at it and wants to work at it and wants to get better. I think he carries that mindset wherever he goes and obviously because of that he has gotten better and he will continue to get better.”
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