If La Marque, Texas, is the Wal-Mart for high school football recruits, Westside High School in Houston might be the Costco for college recruiters this season. In its fourth full season fielding a varsity squad, Westside has possibly eight college prospects for 2005 – all who will be three-year starters.
The signature recruit is R.J. Jackson, a two-way player, who has been offered by the likes of LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Houston and Texas A&M. There will be more to follow as Jackson will participate in several summer one-day camps.
“He is punishing, slashing, smart, tough, fast, elusive – any word you want to call him,” Westside coach Bill Wilson said. “He is in a class of the top kids I’d ever had the chance to coach. He is a special player.”
Jackson (6-0, 197-pounds) rushed for more than 1,100 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on the ground, while catching 10 passes, scoring five touchdowns. In only five games rushing, Jackson earned first-team, all-district honors on offense. On defense, Jackson led the district with eight interceptions and two punt returns for touchdowns, earning the district’s defensive most valuable player honors.
“He wants to play running back in college and is the total package,” Wilson said. “He is a team-player, a great student and is from a tremendous family. He’s already qualified and is a tremendous worker.”
While Jackson has a dozen offers to date, he is waiting for offers from Texas, Miami, Florida and Florida State. He could also be influenced by schools that offer some of his teammates.
“I really enjoyed the LSU trip – it was a weekend to remember,” Jackson said about an earlier unofficial visit to Baton Rouge. “My family wants to me stay close to home, but I’d like to play with some of my teammates. That’s could cause a lot of confusion. I also would like to play with some of my other district-mates George Walker (Texas), Brian Orakpo (Texas) and Andrew Kelson (Texas).”
Jackson wants to verbally commit by the end of summer, but still will take his five official visits.
Defensive end T.J. Minor (6-4, 245-pounds) is also luring Division I attention by his play. Minor has been offered by Oklahoma State.
“He played hurt all last season with ankle problems, and is a different kid this off season,” Wilson said. “He has gotten a lot stronger and is a tremendous pass rusher. He will dominate the line of scrimmage next year.”
Other Division I prospects include quarterback Marcus Jackson (6-2, 200-pounds), wideout Kyle Wilson (5-11, 175-pounds), wideout Justin Cash, offensive guard Jason Bradford (6-4, 300-pounds) and safety David Wise.
“Marcus runs our spread offense and has a rifle of an arm,” Wilson said. “Jason has a mean streak and great feet, while Kyle has sure hands, runs precise routes and is tough over the middle.”
All college recruiters need to know shopping at Westside is if they need paper or plastic.