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Gridiron athlete Jalen Jackson commits to Villanova

Jackson becomes the third Wildcat to verbally commit for the class of 2018.

NCAA Football: Villanova at Lafayette Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Richmond native and Thomas Jefferson High School (Va.) athlete Jalen Jackson is a coach’s dream.

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound rising senior has played at a number of different positions for the Vikings and is a proven impact player in all three facets of the game—offense, defense, and special teams.

On Thursday, Jackson announced his commitment to Villanova University, fulfilling a dream to play collegiate football at the Division I level.

His decision comes shortly after a July 30 visit to the campus.

Head coach Mark Ferrante and his staff are fortunate to receive a dynamic weapon like Jackson, who played quarterback, running back, linebacker, safety, and returner for the Vikings—and excelled at all positions.

Last season, Jackson amassed over 1,800 yards of total offense. He was responsible for a combined 19 touchdowns as a quarterback and running back.

As a returner, he added five more touchdowns.

Defensively, he led the Vikings in tackles and interceptions.

While he was a two-way standout and starter at Thomas Jefferson, the Wildcats seem to be looking at Jackson on the offensive side of the ball. He’s an explosive player, boasting a 4.49 second 40-yard dash time and a 37-inch vertical jump.

Jackson was offered by Villanova just a few weeks ago, back in mid-July. The Wildcats were the latest and final school to give him an offer before his decision was made.

He opted to go to the Main Line over schools like FBS’ Old Dominion, CAA rivals Delaware and Elon, VMI, Norfolk State, and Division II UVa-Wise.

By the time he arrives at Villanova’s campus—looking at the running back position—Matt Gudzak would have graduated. Aaron Forbes and reserve Corey Russo will be seniors. Also, D’Andre Pollard will be a junior and Justin Covington would begin his redshirt sophomore season.