Jessica Jackson made her decision a long time ago, but made it official Friday morning by signing her National Letter of Intent to play basketball for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks.
Jackson put on an Arkansas hat in a ceremony before her senior season as a Jacksonville Lady Red Devil. She chose Arkansas then over Texas, Texas A&M, Georgia and Florida, although without an official signing, the door was still left ajar for those schools.
College coaches kept trying for Jackson during her senior season, especially Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Both sent coaches to several Jacksonville home games. A&M came the closest to possibly swaying Jackson as head coach Gary Blair came to Jackson’s final home game. Blair led the Lady Razorbacks to the Final Four during his time at Arkansas and has turned A&M into a power.
But when push came to shove, there was never really any doubt in Jackson’s mind over where she was going to go.
"I’ve always wanted to be a Lady Razorback and play in my home state," said Jackson. "They were the first to offer me a scholarship."
Jackson led Jacksonville to the school’s first state championship this year.
"There’s really not much that she can’t do on the court," said Jacksonville coach Katrina Mimms. "She’s the first freshman I ever brought up to play varsity and she’s been a big-time prospect ever since. She can handle and drive, or she can post up down low, or she stay outside and hit threes. I think she’ll probably project out to more of small forward in college. She has those kinds of skills."
Jackson was the leading scorer and rebounder for the Lady Red Devils, but was also good at dishing outside to Tiffany Smith for a three, or finding Markela Bryles slashing in.
"She has really grown into a great teammate," Mimms said. "Everybody was involved in our offense, even though it can be easy to just sit back and watch when you’re playing with someone like Jessica. She’s going to be great at Arkansas."