Sometimes even late signings can make a significant impact. The Seminoles are sure hoping that's the case for Wayne County offensive lineman Tre Jackson, who became the final signee of the 2011 class when he faxed in his Letter of Intent to FSU at 2:00 PM on Wednesday. Wayne County head coach Jody Grooms believes his start player could be potentially a steal for FSU down the road.
When you have nine offensive linemen in a class, it's difficult to single out any one to make the biggest splash. Despite having such a large group of players at one position, the 6-foot-4, 290-pound lineman decided to join FSU's already large class of signees.
"I think the reason Tre choose FSU was Coach Trickett and the relationship he had with him, but also Coach Fisher, and basically the players are Florida State," said Grooms. "Tre just felt so comfortable with all the players there, like he fit in there better at FSU more than any other school."
As Grooms explained, FSU offensive line coach Rick Trickett had a dramatic effect on his star player's decision to play for the Seminoles. That relationship only strengthened after Jimbo Fisher, and Trickett, made a special trip to see Jackson in hopes of convincing him to travel to Tallahassee for his final official visit.
"Tre loved Coach Trickett the first time they ever met. Immediately when Coach Trickett saw Tre he started talking to him and just coaching him up so that motivated Tre a lot in leaving a good impression on him," said Grooms. "What he liked was even when Coach Trickett visited Tre he laid the scenario about where things stood but was straight forward about the situation at Florida State in what they had with their numbers in scholarships. Then as the weeks transpired it appeared this could happen and that interest only got stronger."
His final decision didn't come easily. And when he did finally decide on one school, both to Grooms and Jackson's mother were a bit surprised.
"He actually made up his mind Tuesday night that he was picking FSU, then woke up Wednesday morning and was thinking about N.C. State, but then around 12:00 he had a grin on his face, and I told him I already know the decision," said Grooms. "Tre then called FSU up and delivered the news that he would be signing with Florida State. FSU is going to love him because Tre is a humble, unassuming kid that has a very high work ethic. He's a great kid that will fit in very well with the coaching style of Fisher and Coach Trickett."
The final decision for Jackson capped off a wild week that included schools like N.C. State, Georgia, Miami and Alabama all coming in late to court the talented lineman.
With his paperwork signed, sealed and delivered, Grooms is confident that FSU will be getting a quality offensive lineman.
"The one thing all the coaches like about Tre, including Trickett, is his elusive ability to bend, and athletic ability but does it effortlessly," he said. "He is extremely athletic as I mentioned but does a great job using his hands to go along with very good footwork."
The last few weeks were a pretty wild rid for Jackson. After decomitting from Georgia Tech, several schools all over the Southeast threw their hat into the ring for his services. Why the sudden interest in the former Yellow Jacket commitment?
"We never sent any more film out to anyone after he committed so we pretty much shut it down," said Grooms. "However, after the decision to move on from Georgia Tech we sent more out. Then schools just started coming by and saw how athletic Tre was as a player and it really just took off from there."
Jackson joins an already very impressive offensive line class but if you're expecting competition to bother the rising star you would be wrong according to Grooms.
"He loves competition and that's why he wanted to attend Florida State," he said. "Fact is if you can't compete with the top players how are you going to go farther on to the next level. FSU having the offensive lineman they had never really concerned Tre throughout the process."