Why the UGA commitment means so much to Kearis Jackson and his family
Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The topic of the day is Kearis Jackson. The latest UGA commitment chose the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. It was a very special day for his family.
Kearis Jackson chose Georgia on Saturday afternoon.
His mother, Kimberly McGhee, said her son never told her what he planned to do. His grandparents had a few ideas. Jackson even coyly left the right T-shirt suggestion for his grandmother.
But his grandfather, Ricky Jackson, was maybe the happiest. That’s because of how his father — Kearis’ great-grandfather — felt about Georgia.
“My daddy and all of his folks were Georgia fans,” Ricky Jackson said. “Everyone of them. My daddy grew up in Madison. …. He went to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans back when Herschel Walker was playing. My daddy was a huge Georgia fan. He was at every one of those Georgia-Florida games.”
His father, Preston Jackson, was a minister in Fort Valley, Ga. He passed away in 2006, but his picture in his pastoral robes still hangs in his son’s home. That’s the home where Kearis basically grew up.
“He would be so happy about this decision today that he would be dancing all around this yard,” Ricky Jackson said of his father. “He would. That was one of my thoughts when [Kearis] picked Georgia. I thought about my daddy. My dad was literally crazy about Georgia.”
Ricky Jackson was crying. Then he saw his grandson crying.
“I think he saw the emotion that I showed, and we all showed, and then he started to show it,” Ricky Jackson said. “I probably showed more emotion than he did. I was shedding tears. I was glad. I was glad it was over with.”
Kearis — a 4-star wide receiver from Peach County High School in Fort Valley — never came out and told any of his family members which school he had chosen. But his grandfather had a hunch.
“I noticed a difference in him the last two days,” Ricky Jackson said. “Kearis didn’t go to a football game on Thursday night. He didn’t go to the Corky Kell. He didn’t go to the Northside and Warner Robins game. Kearis stayed home and I said to myself that all of this is working on him.
“But then he also said that when he committed he was going to be ready and then he was going to be out there recruiting all the time for his next team.”
Jackson has lofty goals. He aims to recruit better for UGA than Richard LeCounte III did in the 2017 cycle. He shared that thought with our DawgNation Live Facebook viewers on Saturday evening.
Check out that entire conversation below.
Early athletic background
The Jackson family can share some stories about Kearis moving — and moving fast — at an early age.
“He started walking at 8 months,” Ricky Jackson said. “He was already running around a few months after that. I remember telling him when he was 2 years old to go out our driveway and get the mail. Kearis would take off running to the mailbox. He’d race over there, then get my mail, and race right back down the driveway. He would always do that.”
He would not walk anywhere. Everywhere he went, he ran.
The new Georgia commit competed in track events by age 5. Those pictures and the vast collection of medals that came from those days adorn the living room of the Jackson family home.
“I remember him jumping out of his crib at like 6 months old,” McGhee said. “I heard something and thought it couldn’t be him. He was just 6 months. Then I heard him hit the floor. He didn’t cry, though.”
He started walking about two months later.
“I took him to the track when he was 2 years old,” McGhee said. “Not for him to work out. I was working out. He just started running. He ran a full lap around a real track when he was 2 years old. He kept running behind me and telling me to wait but I kept telling him to keep running behind me. … I remembered thinking to myself that this was a little bit unusual.”
Jackson will be a big brother to a new member of the family in December. That’s another reason why it just made a lot of sense to stay home. Still, he had Alabama seriously in contention as recently as a week ago.
His relationship with Georgia receivers coach James Coley helped to sway him toward the Bulldogs. Jackson said that Coley was “basically a father” to him.
“I feel like I can say anything to Coach Coley,” Jackson said.
What did Kirby Smart tell Kearis Jackson after his decision?
Jackson got on the phone with Georgia coach Kirby Smart shortly after his announcement. Smart spoke to the entire family on speakerphone.
He expressed his appreciation and joy for the decision, but he also delivered a message that he had locked up another in-state Bulldog target to stay in the cage.
Jackson relayed that story to DawgNation. It meshes well with Smart’s tweet on social media on Saturday.
— Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) August 19, 2017
Justin Fields is off to a rousing start
That Justin Fields fella got off to a rousing start in his season opener for Harrison High. The 5-star quarterback combined for 6 touchdowns (4 passing, 2 rushing) in a 48-14 home victory against East Paulding.
Fields led the Hoyas to scores on their first two drives and finished with a staggering night. The official team stats reported to DawgNation by the Harrison staff convey the following:
- 11-for-18 passing for 227 yards with 4 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
- 12 carries for 158 yards, an average of 12.8 yards per attempt.
- 380 yards of total offense on 48 plays. That’s 7.9 yards per Harrison offensive snap.
Harrison will travel to Rome on Friday in an anticipated match-up with defending Georgia Class 5A state champion Rome High. Harrison, a Class 6A school, got a late fumble recovery at its own 2-yard-line to hold off the Wolves by a 22-20 margin in August 2016.
The Wolves look to be even better than they were a year ago with a defensive line that’s the best in the state. Every member of the primary playing rotation has a major Division I offer, and that includes an LSU commit, a Tennessee commit and the nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker prospect (Adam Anderson), who has yet to settle on his school.
That game should be the test for just how good Fields can be across his senior season.
Are you all caught up on your Intel? Miss a day? Well, the DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to Mecole Hardman speed before your tailgate crew can worry anymore about all the freshman offensive linemen who will have to play this fall.