The phone calls are persistent, but no longer overwhelming. The attention is constant, but tolerable.
Life has grown easier for Zeb Jackson since the four-star point guard in the class of 2020 announced his final seven schools with a Sept. 21 Twitter post. Now, when he is receiving phone calls or texts from coaches, they belong to either Ohio State, Purdue, Marquette, Michigan, Butler, Arizona State and Michigan State.
Thankful to announce my Final 7... Thank you to all the schools who recruited me and the coaches who believed in me and it’s time to take this next step in the process! pic.twitter.com/9kp8nyT6rB
— Zeb Jackson (@iamzebjackson1) September 21, 2018
It was a process getting to seven.
“It was definitely difficult,” Jackson told The Dispatch. “I built so many good relationships with all the different coaches that I had to cut out. It was hard for me to cut it down and tell them and let them know, but I know I’ve got to choose the right situation for me. Those seven, I know I can’t go wrong.”
A junior at Toledo Maumee Valley Country Day School, Jackson said he relied on his family and coach Rob Conover, among other family friends, in getting his list down to a manageable number.
“It became a lot, especially after school with all of them texting me, calling me, telling me to call them when I get a chance,” he said. “It got really busy. I talk to those seven coaches and assistants a lot. It’s better for me because now I know I can just focus on those schools. I can have a good conversation with each versus having a bunch of coaches calling me and I’m trying to keep the conversation short.”
>>Read more: Point guard Zeb Jackson holds court at OSU team camp
As part of new NCAA rules allowing juniors to take five official visits, Jackson is in the process of scheduling his but has one already booked. He will visit Marquette during the weekend of Oct. 5.
Last weekend, Jackson took an unofficial visit to Ohio State that he said felt like an official in several ways.
“I kept it an unofficial because it’s so close and I’m really close to a lot of players there,” he said. “I stayed there over the weekend, hung out with the players a lot, went out to eat with the coaches on campus since we can’t go off (campus during an unofficial visit). Went to the (football) game and all that stuff. I was there all weekend but it was an unofficial.
“Coach Holtmann, we had some meetings with him, talking about style of play and how I’d fit in. It was great.”
Jackson is the No. 2 overall prospect from Ohio in the class of 2020, behind Gallipolis Gallia Academy center Zach Loveday. He is the No. 66 prospect in the nation in the 247Sports.com composite rankings and the No. 18 shooting guard, although Conover has said he projects as a true point guard at the college level. The Buckeyes have offered one other in-state point guard prospect in the class: Dublin Coffman’s Dom Penn, son of alumnus and member of the coaching staff Scoonie Penn.
>>Read more: Buckeyes pursuing 2020 point guard Zeb Jackson
Each of the remaining schools is on the list because Jackson said he possesses a strong relationship with the head coach and values the academics offered. Narrowing it from there will require more nitpicking and attention to detail, he said. He seemed on the verge of committing to either Butler or Purdue after taking unofficial visits there in late August but held off, and Conover told The Dispatch that Jackson was “wide open” at that point.
The plan is to decide sooner rather than later, although there’s no timetable set.
“We feel like it would be an advantage of committing earlier because then I wouldn’t have to worry about anyone else committing there and taking that spot,” he said. “A lot of colleges play with more than one guard, but then I secure that spot and can start getting ready for that school now. Less stress.”