MOULTRIE, Ga. -- The Gators received their sixth commitment in eight days, as three-star Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County offensive lineman Octavius Jackson committed to the Gators on Friday. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound tackle prospect chose Florida over offers from USF, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, UCF and Marshall.
"The deciding factor was my family. I would rather be close so my family can see me play, rather than far away where they won't get a chance to see me," Jackson said. "It's only two hours away, so my family can come see my games if they want to. It's only a two-hour drive. It's not like it's 10 hours. So I can come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas if I want to. And there's nothing like having your family to support you during your four years of college."
Jackson, a relative newcomer to Florida's recruiting board, says the Gators can expect a "hard-working, intelligent player that's not afraid to throw his body."
He also said the joy over his decision was shared by the Gator coaching staff.
"The coaches were excited," Jackson said. "They were really excited. I could tell in their voices how happy they were for me. Coach [Brian] White is a great man and a great coach. He definitely helped with my decision to go to Florida."
Colquitt County head coach Rush Probst said Jackson has a chance to be a special player on the next level, but what sets him apart is what Jackson is like off the field.
"As a person, I think he's outstanding," Probst said. "He lives with me about half the time. He's wonderful, he babysits my three young children. We trust him enough to do that, and he's responsible enough to do that. He's an outstanding kid. He's like a son to me.
"He's probably the most athletic offensive lineman that I've ever coached. He's got a 30-inch vertical jump, he's a 4.9 40-yard dash guy at 300 pounds plus. He's just so athletic. He just turned 17 years old and he's only been playing offensive line for one year. I coached Cameron Erving, who will probably be the starting left tackle at Florida State and a likely high second-round draft pick. Octavius is just as talented as he is. He has the potential to be a high draft pick."
Jackson becomes commitment No. 22 for Florida and the sixth commitment in eight days for the Gators. Five-star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves started off the onslaught of commitments last Thursday, followed by defensive ends Antonio Riles and Jordan Sherit on Friday and Saturday respectively. Defensive Tackle Travonte Valentine, a 2014 prospect committed on Sunday and wide receiver Chris Thompson pledged to the Gators on Monday. With Jackson's commitment, the Gators now have four offensive line commitments from Cameron Dillard, Josh Outlaw and Rod Johnson.
The Gators, who are ranked No. 2 in the ESPN class rankings, have 13 commits ranked in the ESPN 300 including eight in the ESPN 150.