Eventually, 2025 Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph running back Bo Jackson will be known more for his game than his name.
Having the same name as one of America’s greatest all-around athletes is one thing, and then playing running back brings an entirely additional level of intrigue. But considering that the Villa Angela Bo Jackson was born about 30 years after the NFL Bo Jackson’s last game, the coincidence is likely only notable to those of an older generation.
That being said, the younger Jackson is also a tremendous all-around athlete. In fact, some recruiting sites actually list him as an “Athlete” because he has shown the kind of skills that could work in the backfield, at receiver, or on defense.
Last Sunday in Obetz, Ohio, Jackson was named one of two running back MVPs at the Under Armour Next camp. One of the reasons he earned the award was because of his ability to get open as a receiver.
What has helped make him so good as a pass catcher?
“The work I put in,” Jackson told Buckeye Huddle. “I would go to the field all the time with my dad and work on my routes with him.”
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Jackson could help an offense or a defense in college, but so far schools keep talking to him about running back. That list of schools also includes Ohio State, who offered Jackson last June after getting him on campus for a one-day camp.
It was also last June when Jackson impressed everyone in OSU’s 7-on-7 tournament as a pass catcher. Following that offer, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, and Purdue followed suit.
This spring he has visited Ohio State, Notre Dame, Kentucky, and Penn State.
“I loved Ohio State. The energy and the coaches there,” Jackson said. “My relationship with [running backs coach] Tony Alford is very good. We talk every once in a while.”
While Jackson has grown up watching Ohio State, he is going to continue to take his visits and consider all of his opportunities.
“Notre Dame was good. I loved it,” he said of his visit to South Bend. “They’ve got a lot of traditions there, so I liked it.”
Jackson also enjoyed what he saw at Penn State.
“I liked their facilities, and their players too,” he said. “Their running backs were cool.”
As of a week ago, Jackson is planning on camping only at Ohio State this summer, which he credits to his relationship with Tony Alford. Even with that connection, Jackson still has some specifics he will be looking for from each school that is recruiting him.
“How they use their backs,” he said. “Do they run the ball? Do they throw the ball to the backs? Things like that.”
Jackson is interested in an offense that uses their running backs in a variety of ways, which isn’t a surprise when you consider the number of different ways that he has been used to affect a game throughout his high school career.
For those reasons, Jackson doesn’t have a problem being in an offense that is known for throwing the ball.
As to the offers at running back, Jackson is pretty sure what schools are liking.
“I think they like my size and strength and speed that I have,” he said.
It should surprise no one, then, that those are also the traits he is working on improving this summer.
Being a 2025 prospect means that Jackson is currently just finishing up his sophomore year of high school. The process is still quite early, despite the ever-increasing speed of the recruiting calendar.
Right now, he’s not interested in putting out a “top five” list or anything like that. He is taking things at his own pace. Does that mean he’s a guy who will take things the distance, or get it over with quickly if he sees what he wants to see?
“I don’t know yet,” he said. “I’m talking to my dad and my mom about that, and we’ll try to figure that out.”
Bo Jackson is about 19 months away from being able to sign anywhere, but with his connection to Tony Alford, it seems clear that the Buckeyes are going to be involved throughout the entire process.