4-star Eddie Jackson picks Bama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Eddie Jackson has come a long way. The four-star athlete was an unknown until late in the recruiting cycle. On Wednesday, he gave a verbal commitment to the University of Alabama, the reigning national champions.

“I like how the program is run,” Jackson said. “It’s just everything that they stand for. I can be that guy from Fort Lauderdale, the first guy to come up there and have a chance, a chance to go up there and play.”

The Florida native had a number of other offers to choose from including Florida State, LSU and Tennessee, but ultimately, he couldn’t turn down a chance to play for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.

During his official visit to Tuscaloosa earlier this month, Jackson sat down with the Alabama head coach, and Saban told the No. 54-ranked wide receiver that he has a chance to compete for a spot at cornerback as a freshman.

“They want me to play defensive back,” Jackson said. “Coach Saban told me there’s a good opportunity for me to start my freshman year, come in and play early. That really sounded good. I’m just ready to go in there and compete.”

Although the rankings might not reflect it, Jackson’s head coach Wayne Blair believes his star athlete has a chance to be a special player when he gets to Alabama. “He has the capability of being in the same breath of a Patrick Peterson or a Charles Woodson,” Blair said. “Whether it be the offensive or the defensive side -- he’s well-rounded. His skill set is something like most people have never seen before. You’ve got all these star ratings and all of that. I’m not really a firm believer in it, but if you project Eddie’s star rating, I think he’d probably be at the highest caliber because of the work ethic that he’s obtained through us and with us.”

Jackson becomes the Tide’s 22nd commitment for 2013. He’s the fourth defensive back prospect to commit, joining ESPN 150 cornerback Maurice Smith, ESPN 300 athlete Anthony Averett and in-state cornerback Jonathan Cook.