Alief Elsik linebacker Dontavious Jackson will not join a significant Houston contingent in Austin, as the hard-hitting defender committed to the Florida State Seminoles over the Texas Longhorns on National Signing Day in an announcement on ESPNU.
Jackson also considered the Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators, and Michigan Wolverines, but eliminated the UCLA Bruins in January after taking an official visit to Westwood.
However, through the last several weeks of the process, the Seminoles represented the most serious competition for the thumping 6'2, 240-pounder. An impactful official visit in October helped, as did the machinations of ace recruiter Tim Brewster, the longtime stalwart on the scene in the state of Texas who recruited Vince Young to the Longhorns more than a decade ago.
In fact, Florida State trended in Jackson's 247Sports Crystal Ball on Tuesday, drawing two big predictions from analysts connected to the Noles and two more from more national members of the industry.
But Jackson was also a part of a group with Aldine Davis linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch that had been discussing playing together at Texas, giving the Horns some hope in the final hours. With fellow Under Armour All-American Jean Delance having pledged in early January and Eric Cuffee following towards the end of the month, there was also a significant chance that Texas could pull it out with Jackson because of those ties.
High school teammate Chris Brown, a defensive back, also joined the 2016 class for the Longhorns. When Jackson took a late unofficial visit with Brown to Austin last weekend, things looked positive for the Longhorns, especially since head coach Charlie Strong has an excellent with Jackson, who always reciprocated that relationship by believing in Strong in turn.
But in the end, that was not enough for Texas.
Jackson is ranked as the No. 89 prospect overall, the No. 4 inside linebacker, and the No. 13 prospect in the state of Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Throughout his recruitment, he's accumulated nearly 60 offers.
Though the Horns don't have a huge need at linebacker at taking numerous talented prospects there in the 2016 cycle, there is a need at middle linebacker that a smaller player like Breckyn Hager may have to fill after spending most of his career working on the edge. So losing Jackson hurts, especially since he helped his rankings so much with his efforts in Orlando at the Under Armour game.
Not only that, but Jackson also has a big-time personality that will likely make him an eventual team leader in Tallahassee.
Unfortunately for the Longhorns, Brewster's work and a better natural fit in the ACC compared to the pass-happy Big 12 made the difference.