Over the next 50 days, Gator Country will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at freshman offensive lineman Octavius Jackson.
Jackson is an offensive lineman from Moultrie, Ga. who chose to attend Florida over schools like Kentucky, USF, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, UCF and Vanderbilt.
Jackson had a rather uneventful recruiting process, something coaching staffs love. When Jackson committed to Florida last August, he never wavered and wound up signing his letter of intent to the Gators on National Signing Day.
When he wasn’t playing football, Jackson threw shot put for Colquitt High School and is the school’s current record holder in the event.
Jackson has a good initial burst off of the ball and shows a strong ability to get his hands on defenders quickly. He has active hands but will need to work on his hand placement at the next level to create leverage and maintain blocks.
Jackson has a high motor and shows a good ability to get to the second level and finish blocks. He will likely move to guard and he moves well enough to be a solid pulling guard at the college level.
He has a very good frame that should be able to carry the additional size and mass that Jackson will need to put on in Florida’s strength and conditioning program.
Jackson was listed at 6’3”, 300-pounds in high school but was officially listed at 275 in Florida’s 2013 media guide, so he will need to add size to his frame. This shouldn’t be too big of a job for Jeff Dillman.
Jackson also shows some lower body tightness and doesn’t appear to be able to move around well enough to play tackle.
What to Expect
Expect Jackson to redshirt in 2013. He will be moving from the tackle position that he played in high school to guard at Florida. A redshirt year will allow Jackson the time needed to add size to his frame and adjust to a new position.
Florida has adequate depth at guard with Max Garcia and Jon Halapio earning starting spots at left and right guard respectively. Tyler Moore, Kyle Koehne and Trip Thurman are three players who can play both left and right guard and give the Gators good depth at the position, so Florida doesn’t need Jackson to come in and contribute right away.
Jackson needs to spend his first year on campus helping out the team in any way that he can, while also attacking the weight room and getting near the 300-lb mark.