Shortly before meeting IU soccer coach Tom Allen, Tayven Jackson brought his family together. He told them about his intention to visit Indiana, a decision he made public on Sunday.
The conversation with his family came after Saturday’s men’s basketball game between IU and Wisconsin. Jackson attended with Allen and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Walt Bell. Jackson watched his brother Trayce Jackson-Davis, a big star for the Hoosiers, help lead IU to a win.
In the assembly hall on Saturday, the Tennessee transfer and former Center Grove star heard chants of “We want Tayven” from the student division.
“It was pretty surreal, it was crazy,” Jackson told IndyStar. “I just kept looking at my dad and he had a big smile on his face. Because I was here when Romeo Langford was recruited and they chanted his name. As a little kid I thought that was the greatest thing ever. It was really surreal and really cool.”
After the game, before a final meeting with Allen, Jackson brought his family together to share his decision with them. When asked what he remembers from that conversation, Jackson said the following:
“I just remember feeling like this was my home,” Jackson said.
“And that will be my home for four years and I feel like we’re going to do something very special as a program and as a team.”
His family agreed and supported him.
“Trayce,” Jackson added, “especially.”
This has the potential to be a seismic lift for Indiana football, not only because of the caliber of player Indiana is getting, but also because of the roster needs it is filling. Jackson was a four-star recruit in the high school class of 2022. He chose Tennessee but rarely saw play time as a freshman. On the IU side, the Hoosiers — over the past two seasons — have seen a carousel of quarterbacks for a number of reasons. The insecurity of this position was one of IU’s most pressing concerns.
Jackson has the potential to help fill that.
“Just the culture that Tom Allen has in that dressing room and on the field and around the players, the atmosphere of the fans and it’s just a loving environment,” Jackson said. “I would like to go to work and fight for a coach like that. Just the relationship I’ve had with Coach Allen over the years. I just felt like it was the right place for me.”
The thought of a backfield with Jackson and the dynamic Jaylin Lucas might be something IU hasn’t seen in a while. Much like his program since the conclusion of the 2020 season, IU’s offense has had major problems. Among other things, the Hoosiers could not find a consistent offensive rhythm.
“Coach Bell is a great OC and I’m excited to see what he has at his facility and what we can leverage to get this offense into the top 10 in the country,” Jackson said. “So I’m excited, I think that’s the goal. The goal is to win a Big Ten championship. That will always be the goal.”
With the spring semester already underway, Jackson said he is immediately registering for courses at IU.
“Time to get up and time to go to work,” Jackson said. “Prove myself and prove to others that we are a good team and deserve everything we work for and we will do our best to dress for the city, dress for the state, win football games and score a lot of points. ”