Columbia wide receiver Michael Jackson decommitted from Tennessee-Martin on Tuesday. He is scheduled to visit Southeastern Louisiana this weekend (file photo).

Jackson decommits from UTM

CHS wide receiver reopens recruitment eight days before National Signing Day.

Michael Jackson knew something was a little off in late December when he hadn’t heard from Tennessee-Martin in three weeks.

The Skyhawks’ offensive coordinator Justin Rascati, who originally recruited Jackson to Tennessee-Martin, had just left to take the same position at Tennessee Tech. In his wake, a loud silence on the phone lines between Jackson and the rest of Tennessee-Martin’s coaching staff.

Then Tuesday morning, Jackson received some more news that would push him to decommit from the school he aligned himself with back in August.

Columbia running backs coach Quinton Callum called Jackson with some information about Tennessee-Martin, and although Jackson declined to reveal exactly what he said, he knew it was time to reopen his recruitment.

“[Callum] found out some stuff about UTM and I just felt like it wasn’t the place for me,” Jackson said. “Not saying I didn’t feel wanted, but the three or four weeks they didn’t call me I just felt like something was sketchy about that.”

Jackson broke the news on Twitter at 12:06 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

“After talking it over with my family and coaches, I have decided to decommit from the University of Tennessee-Martin,” Jackson tweeted. “I wanna say thank you to all of the coaches for sticking with me throughout the process but I have to do what’s best for me. Once again thank you to all of the coaches and I will be reopening my recruitment.”

Jackson was scheduled to visit Tennessee-Martin this weekend but recently canceled to visit Southeastern Louisiana instead, a school he also has an offer from. He says Tennessee-Martin was throwing hints that they didn’t want him to take the visit to Southeastern Louisiana, so Jackson called head coach Brian Allen, who then called Callum to talk it over.

According to Jackson, Callum told Allen that UTM was Jackson’s No. 1 choice but that he just wanted to take his visits — he also visited Rhode Island this past weekend.

But when Callum spoke with Tennessee-Martin head coach Jason Simpson on Tuesday morning, he gave Jackson some news that led to his decommitment.

Jackson’s interest in Southeastern Louisiana is obvious by his upcoming visit. The Lions’ new wide receivers coach Matt Barrett recently came over from Georgia Southern, a school Jackson is also interested in but has not received an offer from.

He had planned to visit Georgia Southern this Friday before canceling to visit Tennessee-Martin, a visit he then canceled for Southeastern Louisiana.

“[Barrett] said they’re really high on me, so we’ll see how that visit goes,” Jackson said.

The good news for Jackson is that he has options heading into National Signing Day next Wednesday. In addition to Southeastern Louisiana and Tennessee-Martin, he also has offers from Sam Martin State, Notre Dame College and Rhode Island.

Jackson really enjoyed his visit to Rhode Island this past weekend.

“It was nice. It was my first time seeing snow. They had about 20 inches on Saturday, and it was just nice,” Jackson said. “I really like the players’ vibe. It seemed like they really want to win. When I was up there, they treated everybody like family.”

As for where Jackson’s new football family will be, that remains to be seen.

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