In order to land Cibolo Steele defensive end Mark Jackson, the Texas Longhorns have some ground to make up.
At the Nike Opening Regional Charlotte over the weekend, Jackson earned an invitation to the finals with a strong performance and also revealed that the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas A&M Aggies are in his top group, ahead of the Baylor Bears and Longhorns.
Texas was one of the first schools to offer the consensus four-star prospect last September and he took an unofficial visit to Austin in October and for the Junior Day in February.
Two other schools received April visits -- the LSU Tigers hosted Jackson for the spring game in Baton Rouge a week after Jackson visited College Station.
Right now, the leader in Jackson's 247Sports Crystal Ball is Oklahoma by a wide margin:
There is some good news for the Longhorns, as Jackson showed up in Charlotte wearing Texas shorts:
DE Mark Jackson made the trip to Charlotte from Texas. #HookEm #Horns fans will love the shorts. #TheOpening pic.twitter.com/pIzDwffwDZ— Damon Sayles (@DamonSayles) May 9, 2015
Prospects often downplay the significance of such sartorial choices at camps, but it is sometimes more significant than they would like to suggest publicly.
What makes Jackson the No. 10 weakside defensive end in the 247Sports Composite rankings? In part, it was a productive junior season that saw Jackson earn District 25-6A Defensive MVP honors after he recorded 29 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and five forced fumbles.
Though 2015 signee Breckyn Hager could end up playing the Fox position, the Horns didn't sign a high-level prospect to play that critical role in head coach Charlie Strong's defense and Jackson's skill set is a perfect fit to play the Fox end.
If he's going to end up in the 2016 Texas recruiting class, the Longhorns need to get Jackson on campus again to start closing the gap on the Sooners and Aggies.