October 8, 2013 10:48:10 AM
Matthew Stevens - firstname.lastname@example.org
STARKVILLE -- The parents of Petal High School receiver Jesse Jackson told him he didn't have to wait to make his college choice.
With his mind was made up, Jackson ended the debate Monday. Jackson, a three-star prospect by all of the recruiting services, announced his verbal commitment to Mississippi State. He is the 18th commitment for the Class of 2014. He will make the decision official on National Signing Day on the first week in February.
"For the longest time, I wanted to wait until after the season, but I felt it was the right time," Jackson told 247Sports.com. "I talked to my coaches, too, about it. They said I could wait 'till long but if I knew where I wanted to go that they would wish the best for me."
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Jackson unofficially visited MSU last week and needed just a couple of days to announce his decision.
"It's been a lot of fun," Jackson told Paul Jones of 247Sports.com. "I was grateful when I got my first offer and then things moved very fast and it became a reality I was going to be playing in the SEC. With our open date, I had a lot of time to think about my decision. That really helped to speed up the process, and it went quicker than I thought at first."
Jackson also held offers from Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Missouri, and Southern Miss, among others, and is rated the ninth-best overall prospect in the state of Mississippi, according to 247Sports.com. Jackson has 14 receptions for 170 yards and two touchdowns in five games for Petal this season. He had 39 catches for 842 yards and 11 scores in 2011.
Jackson told 247Sports.com he plans to major in engineering at MSU. He said he also was impressed with MSU's willingness to give freshmen playing time. This season, MSU has given significant playing time to freshmen wide receivers D'Runnya Wilson and Fred Ross.
"I like how Dak (Prescott) has done this year, and I also got a good feel for (2014 MSU commit) Elijah (Staley) at Big Dawg Camp," Jackson said. "I know he has a big arm and likes to mix in the run, too. We hit it off well at Big Dawg Camp, and I like the chance to earn early playing time and playing with those quarterbacks."
Mullen not convinced shootouts will define SEC big games
MSU coach Dan Mullen isn't convinced Southeastern Conference games will continue to be shootouts.
MSU (2-3, 0-2 SEC) is still fourth in the SEC in total defense even after allowing 59 points and 563 yards Saturday in a loss to No. 10 LSU.
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger was 25 of 29 for 340 yards and two touchdowns on his way to being named SEC Player of the Week. In addition to completing a career-high 25 passes, Mettenberger's 86-percent completion rate is the fourth-highest total for a QB in school history in a game with at least 20 attempts.
The 59 points were the most for LSU (5-1, 2-1) in a SEC game since it scored 63 against Kentucky in 1997. The Tigers have scored 30 or more points in every game -- a first in school history -- and has eclipsed the 400-yard mark in all six games, another first in LSU history. LSU outscored MSU 31-3 in the second half after leading 28-23 at halftime.
The SEC has three schools in the top 30 in total defense this week. However, Mullen isn't convinced defenses will decide who will play in Atlanta for the SEC title.
"Before all is said and done you're going to see some defensive battles in this league," Mullen said. "It's my ninth year in the league, I've seen offensive explosions. You've seen defensive years."
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.