The article below originally appeared on al.com and is being reprinted with permission.
Alabama has five offensive linemen committed for the Class of 2014 and is working on a few others. One who should be ready to contribute early in Tuscaloosa is College of San Mateo junior college transfer Dominick Jackson.
“We’re kind of, on a national level, the best junior college conference, or in the top three, so he’s playing against guys in practice every day and in our conference who are BCS guys,” CSM assistant head coach Tim Tulloch said during an interview with AL.com this week. “So that’s going to prepare him, but no question there’s going to be a transition.
“He’s got all the physical tools. He’s very athletic for his size. He’s dominant when he’s on the field. He’s trying to put people on the ground.”
Jackson (6-7, 315), a four-star prospect ranked as the No. 6 junior college prospect in the nation by 247Sports, could play guard or tackle at Alabama and will have played both positions by the time he leaves San Mateo, Tulloch said. He played tackle as a freshman and will be moved to guard this year due to team needs.
“He’s a hard-working kid, a kid that is passionate about the game,” Tulloch said of Jackson. “He’s been great for us, has done everything we’ve asked him to do. … He’s worked really hard on physically getting fit and ready, reducing body fat, getting bigger, getting stronger. He’s done a really good job this spring and summer of playing with his hands, (knowing) when to strike.
“He was dominant as a run-blocker as a freshman, but he’s really expanded … in the passing game. That’s helped a lot.”
Jackson, a native of San Jose area, was a academic non-qualifier out of high school, but Tulloch said he’s on track to be a May graduate. Playing at a nationally recognized program like Alabama — particularly one in the SEC — has long been one of his goals.
“When he joined the program, we sat down to set some goals and I said, ‘What do want to shoot for? What kind of program do you want to go to?'” Tulloch said of Jackson. “He listed some of the big programs on the west coast, but he said, ‘Coach, if I had an opportunity to play in the SEC, to play for a place like Alabama, it’d be a dream come true.’ Sure enough, here we are.”
Jackson originally committed to UCLA in June, but Tulloch said Crimson Tide offensive line coach Mario Cristobal kept working on Jackson and ultimately won him over.
“Cristobal just kind of stuck with him,” Tulloch said. “UCLA has a tremendous program, a great head coach in coach (Jim) Mora and we work closely with (assistant) coach (Jeff) Ulbrich. At first he went to take an unofficial and said, ‘That’s where I want to go.’ But I think he thought about it, spent more time with coach Cristobal, and I’m not sure what Cristobal did or said, but Dominick said, ‘Let me rethink it.’
“He just hit it off with coach Cristobal. He’s had a good relationship with a lot of coaches, but he said, ‘That’s the guy. I want to play for him.’ … Dominick calls him the Magic Man.”