Jaren Jackson, a five-star power forward from Indiana, verbally committed to Michigan State on Thursday, on his 17th birthday.
Blessed to see 17 years 🎉 Excited to spend more with my new family #SPARTANS ✅ 🏃🏾…🚶🏾
— Jaren Jackson Jr. (@therealjnari_) September 15, 2016
Jackson is Tom Izzo’s first recruit in the class of 2017, and he sure opened up on the right foot. Jackson is ranked near the top of several scouting services’ 2017 lists:
ESPN: Four stars, No. 26 overall, No. 5 power forward
Scout: Five stars, No. 29 overall, No. 5 power forward
247Sports: Five stars, No. 27 overall, No. 9 power forward
Purdue and Maryland were said to be the other strongest contenders for Jackson, with Notre Dame and Georgetown also in his final five schools.
Jackson is a stretch four with three-point shooting range, something the Spartans have been lacking since Adreian Payne graduated. At 6-foot-10, 220 pounds, he still has some filling out to do if he wants to contend with some of the bigger power forwards in the Big Ten. But his slender frame will also allow him to get around those slower defenders and truly make him a matchup nightmare.
ESPN’s Reggie Rankin said Jackson reminds him of Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh or Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner, two other slender power forwards with an outside shooting touch. Pretty good company for a 17-year-old to be in already.
Don’t forget, Jackson still has a year of high school ball left to refine his skills and bulk up before he’s thrown into the fire of Big Ten play. If Miles Bridges sticks around for his sophomore year, MSU could have the deadliest frontcourt in the Big Ten, and certainly one of the most athletic in the nation.