Renaissance’s Alaric Jackson sticks with Iowa

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Alaric Jackson from Detroit Renaissance signs with Iowa during National Signing Day on Wednesday at a PSL event in Detroit.

Detroit — It might have taken two days longer than Detroit Renaissance’s Alaric Jackson originally planned, but in the end his decision never changed.

Jackson, a 6-foot-7, 280-pound offensive tackle, made his pledge to Iowa official Wednesday during the Detroit Public School League’s sixth annual National Signing Day ceremony at the Horatio Williams Foundation.

And it wasn’t without a little theatrics as Jackson pulled a Hawkeyes hat out of a backpack in front of the standing room-only crowd to make his announcement.

“They have a great class coming in with (Detroit East English Village defensive ends Chauncey) Golston and (Cedrick) Lattimore,” Jackson said. “I went down there for my visit and I loved it. Great atmosphere, great people, great coaches, great people. It was just great overall.”

Jackson picked Iowa over an array of offers from other schools, including Iowa State, Nebraska and Michigan State.

Michigan appeared to make a late push for Jackson, though some reports suggested the Wolverines eventually backed away.

Jackson, ranked No. 17 on the News’ Blue Chip list, was set to make his decision Monday after school, but was caught off-guard when Michigan offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Tim Drevno FaceTimed him.

“Michigan said they wanted to offer me a scholarship (Monday), so it was in my mind a little bit,” Jackson said. “Michigan is a hometown school with Coach (Jim) Harbaugh, so I had to weigh the factors.”

Ultimately, the opportunity to play with Golston and Lattimore coupled with Iowa’s successful 2015 campaign and family-like atmosphere were too much to resist.

“Michigan came in pretty late,” Jackson said. “Iowa was loyal to me since my junior year. I couldn’t change my mind about them.”

Triple threat

The thought of playing on the same football team as Jackson never crossed Lattimore’s mind until his senior year.

In fact, Jackson and Lattimore originally shared the same hardwood dreams since they were kids.

“We actually grew up playing basketball together," Lattimore said. "We thought we were hoopers."

Jackson and Lattimore each received a handful of basketball offers from smaller Division 1 schools, but passed once bigger football programs came calling.

“I have a football body,” Lattimore said of his 6-5, 240-pound frame. “I have the heart to play basketball, but I don’t have the size. I have the perfect body to play defensive end.”

Jackson said basketball was his first love since he was 4, but decided to focus more on football after Harbaugh attended one of Renaissance’s game during his junior season — his first year playing the sport.

“That really changed me” Jackson said. “I found myself watching more film for football, lifting weights harder than I used to, going to more football games and asking questions.”

But perhaps the biggest change for Jackson will be donning the same jersey as Golston and Lattimore and fending off the two in practice, not games.

“At first, none of us played on the same team at all,” Golston said. “Then we just grew a bond from playing against each other so much.

“It’s going to be great. We’re gonna be a triple threat.”