The Florida Gators coaching staff knew they needed to add bodies to the offensive line to both increase performance and add depth. Coach Will Muschamp has said in the past he would like the team to have at least 16 offensive linemen on the team to allow for ample competition. The added depth also allows the Gators to groom younger players into starters without having to thrust them into action under-prepared underclassman in the always competitive SEC. Will Muschamp knows that the Southeastern Conference is a line of scrimmage league and the 2013 recruiting class was a perfect example of how seriously he believes in that fact.
The Gators signed five offensive linemen in the class of 2013 and the Gators are hoping that each can spend sometime learning the system, improving their strength, and improving their technique (sans, maybe, JUCO transfer Trenton Brown, who could get some playing time). A three-star Colquitt County High School offensive lineman, Octavius Jackson is likely the only one of the Gators signees that projects as a guard, although he played tackle in high school.
A video analysis on Jackson proves that while he is the rawest and will need at least two years to work on his technique, he has great size and strength to grow into a solid player.
At 6-foot-4, 285-pound Jackson already has a great frame that has filled out nicely. At Jackson’s age and position, you will often see players with a ton of bad weight. However, Jackson seems to be ahead of the game and has more muscle than expected at his age, which is a testament to his work ethic.
As previously mentioned, Jackson has great size and strength already combined with decent hand placement. Jackson is able to fend off most defenders with a good punch that makes it tough on opponents to overpower him. When Jackson improves on his hand movement and adds strength, he has the tools to be a very impending physical force.
Jackson’s biggest struggle, and why he will be moved inside, is his movement and speed. While Jackson does have good agility and balance, he does not move well laterally or when being pushed by an opposing lineman. As a tackle, Jackson would be beaten on every play in the SEC but as a guard, he has enough movement and strong enough footwork for his weakness to be minimized. Jackson also needs to improve on his technique. Jackson’s stance is tall and it takes him awhile to get set in his technique.
Jackson will likely be a contributor at the next level but it may not be until the 2015 or 2016 season. Expect Jackson to add at least 15 pounds of good weight before the season.