Trieu: Future Spartan Jackson rising to Corley-like status
This may be a historically good year in Michigan for wide receivers. Donnie Corley and Desmond Fitzpatrick are already considered among the nation's best. But ask around and there are a growing number of folks who believe Trishton Jackson deserves to be mentioned right there with them. Several observers at recent camps have even stated they believe Jackson has the most upside of any player in the state.
A quarterback last season at West Bloomfield, Jackson's size (6-3, 190 pounds) and athleticism drew him looks and offers from mostly Mid-American Conference schools through the early part of his recruitment. His skills on the basketball court and natural pass catching skills he showed in winter 7-on-7 began to draw the eye of bigger schools.
In front of 400 college coaches at the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy earlier this month, Jackson put on a dominant display, adding an offer from Iowa in the process. When he did the same thing at Michigan State on Saturday, he forced the Spartans' hand in a tight class. They offered him on Wednesday morning and by Wednesday night, he was the newest member of the 2016 class.
"He's a special talent," West Bloomfield head coach Ron Bellamy said. "He's a kid State has known about for a few years now and it was matter of them feeling comfortable enough with four receivers. There's a possibility State signs four receivers this year, which is a huge number. They're going to recruit him as an athlete, but we all know he's probably going to play wide receiver."
Jackson's mother, a Michigan State alum, was the person who broke the news to him.
"I got the word (about a Spartan offer) when my coach and my mom called me at the same time," he said. "I answered my mom and she said, 'They finally offered you.' I was kind of startled at first, I didn't know what was going on and I talked to Coach Bellamy and he told me Michigan State offered."
Bellamy, who played wide receiver at Michigan, says he has spent a lot of this offseason working with Jackson on his receiver skills. While that may upset his offensive coordinator, who would rather his quarterback be throwing the ball, Bellamy knew that's where his future was. Bellamy's tutelage, along with playing receiver in 7-on-7 with Rising Stars, has allowed Jackson to reach a level of polish that is uncommon for players so new to the position.
"It's been a big transformation," he said. "I'm learning a lot. As a quarterback and receiver, I know where people are on the field, how defenses line up and where particular people are, so I'm learning a lot."
While there is a possibility he could play other positions, wide receiver is most likely. Jackson will play whatever the Spartans ask him to, he says, because he's happy to be at the school he's always wanted to play for.
"Michigan State has been my dream school and I had a feeling I was going to commit. I just had to talk to my parents about it."
Rison also jumps on board
Ann Arbor Skyline rising junior wide receiver Hunter Rison, son of former Spartan great Andre Rison, committed to Michigan State following Saturday's one-day camp. Rison (5-11, 190) played in Arizona last year before moving to Michigan this year.
He received an offer in April.
"It was almost dream-like, to be honest," he said. "You grow up, dad's alma mater is Michigan State, you love football, that's what you want to do, you see the green and white, and to have the first offer from Michigan State, I had to sit back and think about it for a second and pinch myself."
He is the first commitment in the 2017 class for the Spartans.
2017 lineman earns camp offer
Cincinnati St. Xavier rising junior guard Matt Bockhorst added a Michigan State offer following camp. Bockhorst (6-4, 290 pounds) adds the Spartan offer to a list that has Cincinnati, Louisville, Northwestern, Illinois, Vanderbilt and others.
"Coach Dantonio and Coach (Mark) Staten are great guys and they really stress family," Bockhorst said to Scout's Dave Berk. "However, a lot of programs talk about family this and family that. But it's the small things like Coach Staten's son playing with my little brother while I was at camp and current players working the camp that standout."
Bockhorst will camp at Notre Dame next. He plans to be back in East Lansing for a game this fall.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.