Commit Capsule: Merrick Jackson

Commit Capsule: Merrick Jackson

Illinois will need a run-stuffing defensive tackle or two to take over for Akeem Spence once he graduates. In the 6th installment of our Commit Capsule series, we look at defensive tackle Merrick Jackson.

Commit Capsule: Merrick Jackson

Date Committed: 4/30/2012

Position: Defensive Tackle

Jackson is one big guy. Playing at Belleville's Althoff Catholic High School, he plays in a smaller division of football in Illinois, but regardless of who he's facing, Jackson is a load to handle. With Akeem Spence moving on in the next year or two, Illinois needed to add a defensive tackle who is a space-eater and double teams in the middle. Jackson picked Illinois over offers from Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri.

What He Brings:

Even at his size, Jackson consistently plays with a low pad level and doesn't get stood up very often. He uses this to his advantage to get leverage and disrupt the interior of the line of scrimmage. Considering his weight right now, Jackson is still able to move relatively well and has an extremely strong lower body. He's relatively quick off the snap and plays with a mean streak until the whistle is blown.

What Can Improve:

One thing he will really need to work on heading into his senior season and college is his weight. Though he moves well now, he is up to nearly 340 pounds from about 320 last season. If he is able to drop 30-40 pounds by the time he gets to college, he could be a dangerous defensive tackle.

What Is Unique:

Though not at Althoff Catholic at the same time, Jackson hails from the same high school as former Illinois running back Jason Ford, who just graduated in 2012. Interestingly enough, Ford also chose Illinois over offers from Iowa and Missouri, among others.

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