January 5, 2012

Jackson willing to give Rebels 'little bit of a look'

Joseph Jackson is committed to North Carolina - to the point, actually, where is closing most doors to potential suitors.

However, the linebacker from Jacksonville (First Coast), Fla., is, at the very least, intrigued by Ole Miss.

On Wednesday, Jackson entertained new Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and a familiar face, running backs coach Derrick Nix, and the Rebels have a puncher's chance of stealing the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder from the Tar Heels.

"They spoke with my mom and it was a good visit," said Jackson, who had built a strong relationship with Nix when Nix was holding the same position on former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt's staff in Oxford. "I'm still taking a little bit of a look at Ole Miss. I haven't set up a visit yet, but it's possible."

The visit was Jackson's first with Freeze, who was hired to replace Nutt after leading Arkansas State to a 10-2 record and the Sun Belt Conference title this season.

"He's a great man," Jackson said. "I like a lot about him. I like his Christian faith. I like his honesty. He said Ole Miss is a great place with great academics and it's in a great conference in the SEC."

Still, Jackson said he will likely sign with North Carolina in four weeks. Jackson, who initially committed to West Virginia before changing his mind, said he has already built a "great" relationship with new Tar Heel coach Larry Fedora and his staff.

"We're close because I'm very familiar with them because they recruited me at Southern Miss," Jackson said. "I'm still very much committed to North Carolina."

Jackson said he would decide soon whether to take an official visit to Ole Miss later this month. Even if he does spend 48 hours in Oxford, Jackson said, the Rebels will have an uphill climb.

"It will definitely be a big task," Jackson said. "Like I said, I love North Carolina. It would take a lot."

Jackson is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 60 linebacker in the country and the No. 96 prospect in the state of Florida.

"I'm trying to finish my winter workouts," Jackson said. "As far as college ready, I'm ready to compete. It's all about competing."

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