The biggest advantage Marcus Jackson has over most fellow teammates and opponents during practices for the Under Armour All-America game is that he’s used to the heat.
A product of Vero Beach High, Jackson knows what kind of humidity Florida offers, even in January.
“They’re used to this dry heat and then they come out here and are about to die,” Jackson said of his fellow all-star game participants from Arizona and Texas, who were practicing at ESPN's Wide World of Sports this week in preparation for Wednesday's all-American game. “They got like two plays and they’re about to die and I’m used to it.”
For Jackson (6-2, 295), who will announce his college choice Wednesday night at the Under Armour All-American Game at St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field (ESPN, 7 p.m.), has enjoyed having a stamina that is much higer than some of those around him.
“That’ll be cool,” said Jackson. "Once I make it, I’m gone. I’ll make the decision at the game, I'll go home, get my stuff, get everything and I’m going driving to Florida, Miami or flying out somewhere way up north.”
Jackson has Miami, Florida, Tennessee and Michigan State as his favorite schools, although he admits that Florida is towards the bottom of the pack. He also de-committed from Miami, citing chaos with the firing of head coach Randy Shannon and the football teams lack of the feel of the the “old Miami.”
“It was always the school I wanted to go to,” Jackson said. “They’re not out of it, but at the same time I have my mind made up.”
If Florida is not the leader and Miami looking to be a fringe choice at best, common sense dictates that Jackson will likely choose between Michigan State and Tennessee.
Jackson did visit Michigan State with Vero Beach safety Larry Franklin in October.
“I kind of want to play with him, so that’s what attracted me to Michigan State,” Jackson said.
Playing with his teammate in college sounds nice, but the thought of Michigan State didn’t stir up the same smile that came with the mentioning of Tennessee.
“Tennessee, oh, I love Tennessee,” he said.
Going by body language alone, it seems like Tennessee is the team to beat, but there’s no knowing for sure until Jackson announces his choice on Wednesday. And somewhere, Al Golden will have an ear to the TV, if he's not sitting at the Trop.
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