Missouri first to offer Illinois DT

Junior defensive tackle Merrick Jackson lives in lightly recruited downstate Illinois. The Belleville (Ill.) Althoff Catholic prospect has only been hearing from a couple schools, but one of those programs came through with an offer on Thursday.
"Missouri offered me a full ride," Jackson reported. "I talked to Coach [Cornell] Ford about it and he gave me the good news. It caught me by surprise because I didn't think they were that interested.
"He just said he watched my film and said I was causing havoc in the middle. He liked my big frame and said he can work with me and we could do something."
Jackson was supposed to attend Missouri's junior day this coming weekend, but had previously scheduled to take the ACT that day. He does plan to visit Columbia soon and is strongly interested in the Tigers after their offer.
"I'm very interested and he told me they would get me out there this spring," Jackson said.
The offer from Missouri was not the only bit of good news Jackson received on Thursday. Kansas State, which has been recruiting him for some time, also has picked up their interest in Jackson.
"I talked to K-State a little bit after I found out about Missouri," Jacksons said. "They told me they were thinking about offering me and said they were going to call my coach back and let him know."
Jackson has also discussed taking an unofficial visit to Kansas State with the Wildcat's coaching staff. Even if they do come through with an offer, though, Jackson does not expect to make a final decision on his college destination any time soon.
"I'm definitely not going to rush into it," Jackson said.
The 6-2, 320-pound Jackson started at defensive tackle for Althoff Catholic as a junior, finishing with 65 tackles including 13 for loss, five sacks and six forced fumbles on the season.