El Dorado junior defensive lineman Bijhon Jackson committed to the Razorbacks on Dec. 20.
The decision was easy for the 6-foot-2, 325-pounder. He told us last week on the Recruiting Thursday segment on Sports Night that Bielema called El Dorado coach Scott Reed first, then called the Jackson home later.
Jackson, a lifelong Hog fan, said Arkansas has always been atop his list. The comfort he felt talking with Bielema only cemented the decision. The coach also wowed Jackson’s parents with his easygoing, personal approach.
Bielema told Jackson he had viewed his highlight film and transcript and “liked what he saw.” That’s when the Wildcats standout told Bielema he was ready to make the verbal commitment.
“That was a dream come true for me,” said Jackson, who bench presses 385 pounds with 5.1 speed.
Jackson, is ranked a four-star recruit by some services, and had scholarship offers from Arkansas State and Ole Miss. The list would have grown exponentially, and still could, as Jackson heads to the Army All-American Combine today and recruiting of the 2014 Class heats up in the spring.
Securing Jackson is key for a few of reasons.
- Bielema knows the importance of keeping highly sought-after in-state recruits at home. Big-time recruits aren’t plentiful in the Natural State, so it’s important to harvest all of the talent.
- Quality defensive linemen are the foundation of building a championship contender. However, it’s not easy to find massive prospects with impressive strength, speed and agility. It’s no coincidence that programs like Alabama and LSU are able to land a handful of those rare creatures each year. Those linemen anchor defenses that are among the best in the nation. With his physical attributes and his early success Jackson is that rare find.
- Jackson could be the key to landing yet another blue-chip in-state D-line prospect. Fellow junior Josh Frazier of Springdale Har-Ber is also a special talent. Frazier (6-4, 320) has offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Arkansas State and UCLA. The two players formed a friendship, and Jackson said he will do what he can to persuade Frazier to join him in Fayetteville. Bielema has also talked to Frazier, but he will take his time making a decision. Another program would be hard-pressed to sign two linemen the caliber of the Arkansas natives.
Another intangible Jackson offers is a knack for winning. As a sophomore he started on the 2012 El Dorado 6A State Title team. The Wildcats finished in the semifinals this season and after winning three state titles in four years should be in the hunt again next season.
Noy only is Jackson a freakish athlete and proven winner, he is also by all accounts a good kid, who values academics. His warm and witty personality radiated over the airwaves and his social media posts are entertaining. He fills his feeds with commentary on his favorite TV show, Sponge Bob Square pants, and what he plans to eat next.
Bielema has work to do to move his inaugural class into the Top 25 but thanks to Jackson his 2014 class is already headed in that direction.