UK Football

Drake Jackson on negative recruiting: ‘They’re scared of Kentucky’

Woodford County offensive lineman Drake Jackson is regarded as one of the best centers nationally in the recruiting class of 2016. He has already enrolled in classes at UK and will join the Wildcats for spring practice.
Woodford County offensive lineman Drake Jackson is regarded as one of the best centers nationally in the recruiting class of 2016. He has already enrolled in classes at UK and will join the Wildcats for spring practice. Herald-Leader

Former Woodford County offensive lineman Drake Jackson committed to the University of Kentucky more than a year ago, but that didn’t stop other big-name schools from coming after him.

Jackson — now enrolled at UK for spring classes — had reported scholarship offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Florida and Tennessee, just to name a few. He said Thursday that Louisiana State also extended a scholarship offer recently, and Georgia and Michigan were among the major programs that came after him despite his commitment.

The de facto leader of UK’s recruiting class of 2016 let all comers know that he wasn’t going to budge off of his pledge. Negative recruiting by other programs was a common occurrence, especially after Jackson’s commitment following the Wildcats’ 5-7 season in 2014.

“It happens,” Jackson said Thursday. “A guy like me — who’s so committed to Kentucky — that’s their way of trying to pull me out of it. A school trying to talk themselves up isn’t going to do anything anymore. They have to talk Kentucky down.”

It obviously wasn’t a strategy that worked on Jackson, who is regarded as one of the best centers in the country and a possible immediate contributor for the Cats.

“A lot of them do it, and they do it to the other recruits, too,” he said. “I don’t like it, because recruiting shouldn’t be — the only reason they put Kentucky down is because they’re scared of Kentucky. If you weren’t worried about Kentucky, if we weren’t all that, then they wouldn’t have any reason to try and put it down.”

Jackson noted that he wasn’t the only 2016 commitment who heard the anti-UK pitches from other schools. Fellow in-state standouts Kash Daniel, Davonte Robinson and Landon Young all had scholarship offers from major college programs that kept recruiting them well after their commitments to Kentucky.

The fact that they all stayed with the Cats is telling, Jackson said.

“We all have a common goal, and we want to reach it together, and we want to do it at the place we love.”

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