The Ducks have just one linebacker committed for 2022. And as recent transfers and injuries have exposed, they need to add depth at the position.
Based on a recent offer, 4-star (0.9405 on the 247Sports Composite) Devon Jackson looks to be one of Oregon’s primary targets. At 6-2 and 200 pounds and blessed with 10.5 speed, the senior at Burke High in Omaha (Neb.) is exactly the type of versatile defender Oregon needs.
I caught up with the No. 2 player in Nebraska recently to get his thoughts on the Ducks’ big win over Ohio State and an update on his recruiting for ScoopDuck.
Jackson has had the Ducks’ trip to Columbus circled for a long time. In mid-August, he told me, “When Oregon plays Ohio State Week 2, best believe don’t call me, don’t text me.
“I’m all locked in on that game.”
And the Ducks’ performance on Saturday certainly didn’t disappoint.
“I loved the game,” he said. “I really did. I loved the game, man. I mean how many people can shut Ohio State up to 7 points in a half.
“It’s exciting, you know, ’cause I could potentially be here and be around dogs, guys who are just as highly rated as I was in high school, some even higher, you know. And I feel like as a competitor, that’s what’s gonna push me to that next level, you know.
“Because college is gonna push, you no matter where you go. But there’s just certain schools that they can push you harder than others.
“I feel like Oregon’s in that category with a handful of schools around the country.”
In particular, Jackson’s future position group made a case for coming to Oregon.
“I think it’s interesting watching the linebackers,” he said. “No. 1, Noah Sewell, he’s cold, man. There’s nothing else to it.
“Unfortunate to hear Justin Flowe is hurt again. Just watching his game, everybody knows of him at least. So I look at it like, ‘OK, dude’s hurt, but that’s where I’m getting recruited to play.’
“So I’m also a competitor. I’m gonna try to take your spot.”
In recent weeks, Jackson told me Arizona State, Oregon and Miami have emerged as his three finalists. Now, his focus is on taking visits and coming to a decision.
Jackson’s first trip to Eugene will be an official visit as the Ducks open conference play Sept. 25 with a night game against Arizona.
“It’s confirmed I’m going,” he said. “I can’t wait to see everything and what Oregon has to offer me. I think Mom and Dad and my little sister are coming with me.
“When I’m down there, hopefully I can find (fellow Nebraskan) Avante Dickerson. He’s from here from the metro, so I wanna just get his opinion about his first year. That’s one thing if I get to do it I probably wanna talk to him.
“But other than that, just show me what Oregon football is like on and off the field. I just wanna see everything.”
After that, Jackson plans an official to Arizona State on Oct. 8 for a Friday game against Stanford. He’ll have to miss a high school game for that one, but he’s confident that his teammates will handle that week’s opponent without him.
“I mean, really, I plan on doing that (visiting ASU),” he said, “but I feel like it just depends on how this visit goes with Oregon. If I get there and I’m not clicking with Oregon, then you know — go somewhere else.
“If I love the visit, then I feel like I’m gonna have to go to ASU just to get their full experience.”
Jackson already saw Miami this summer. And after some consideration, he doubts he’ll return.
Jackson told me he plans to announce “by the end of October.”
“Really take about a week or two,” he said, “maybe three depending on how long it takes, and then compare all three visits and go from there. Weigh all the pros and cons, sleep on it, and pray on it.”
Jackson missed his junior season of high school football due to COVID. I asked Jackson how his senior year was going so far.
The first game was challenging, as Jackson said he was cramping for probably three-fourths of the game. A lot of his teammates were cramping, too, as they lost to the top-ranked team in the state.
But Burke bounced back the next two weeks, and Jackson played a big role.
In Game 2, he scored a 75-yard touchdown on a hitch route and made a one-handed pick six. Then in the third game, he had two more defensive scores: one on a fumble recovery he took to the end zone and another on an interception.
His team won both times.
Jackson got the chance to communicate with the Oregon staff a bit just after the start of his season.
“I just talked to coach (Ken) Wilson,” Jackson said. “He’s liking what he’s seeing.
“We talked about some stuff after my first game and just some stuff I could work on – like using my hands. Because I haven’t played in two years, he gave me the benefit of the doubt.
“I think they like what they see; that’s why they’re recruiting me. I just gotta keep getting better and pushing myself.
“It’s not gonna be easy playing somewhere like Oregon. It might be uncomfortable at first.
“Competition in the state of Nebraska, it’s — not like Arizona or Cali.”