SDSU hopes 4-star, 2025 QB Jackson Kollock shines in San Diego

Jackson Kollock on his visit to SDSU. (Credit: Jackson Kollock)

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Laguna Beach QB Jackson Kollock on his unofficial SDSU visit. (Credit: Jackson Kollock)

Arguably, the worst outcome of the latest changes in college athletics is moving what used to be the dark underbelly of sports into the light and raising its status to a virtue. Pay-for-play, cutting players, and coaches bailing on their teams for more lucrative opportunities have always been part of the game as necessary evils. Now, they are the focal point.

Even as NIL and unlimited transfers addressed the inequalities of revenue sharing and player control, the NCAA removed the cap on the number of new athletes a program can bring in. Common sense would have given new coaches a one-year exemption to the 25-player maximum to address the inevitable rush of departures. Instead, coaches around the country remake their rosters every offseason without regard to the educational goals of the “student-athletes” under their care.

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders, for example, brought in 68 new scholarship players his first year in Boulder. This offseason, Sanders brought in 32 more, including 25 transfers. Sanders, at least, is honest about the new reality in college football.

“The big picture, you go get new linemen,” Sanders infamously said after his linemen underperformed in a 28-16 loss to UCLA. “That’s the picture, and I’m going to paint it perfectly.”

Jackson Kollock at SDSU’s practice. (Credit: Jackson Kollock)

College football’s landscape is littered with young men forced to grow up fast, facing this new normal. Current Aztecs Brady Nassar and Tayvion Beasley suffered in the wake of Sanders’ ascension in Colorado. Even after committing to CU, Nassar’s scholarship offer from the previous staff wasn’t honored. Beasley followed Sanders to Boulder from Jackson State but was effectively cut from the team four months later and was forced to sit out last year with the Aztecs.

Among the recent examples of how the dominos that fall in college football can negatively impact young athletes is the story of Laguna Beach High School QB Jackson Kollock.

“The main thing was just you gotta look out for yourself,” Kollock told EVT when asked what he learned through this ordeal. “I completely shut down my recruitment after I committed, which I realized I should have at least kept open and kept the relationships because you never know what could happen. And you always have to look out for yourself, first of all. It’s a business, and the college (and) everyone is going to do what’s best for themselves. It’s just about doing what’s best for you, and that’s the main thing.”

In October, Kollock committed to the University of Washington. Following the Huskies’ run to the National Championship, Alabama hired UW’s head coach Kalen DeBoer to replace the retiring Nick Saban. Kollock decommitted in January amid the uncertainty of a new coaching staff entering the picture.

“It’s been a change, for sure,” Jackson said. “I thought I knew what I was going to do for the next four years, and then it all turned around in an instant. It’s just been like restarting the recruiting process. Everything happens for a reason. So, I’ve tried to be optimistic about it and just know I got something better planned for my future. I’m just going through this knowing that something better is out there.”

Recruitment Back Open

The transfer portal has greatly changed recruiting. While the effects are not fully known, it is clear there are fewer spots for high schoolers. Usually, programs take just one QB in each class. Schools will extend offers to a handful of players. The signal caller that commits first gets the lone spot.

Jackson Kollock with his mom at SDSU’s practice. Proximity to home is important to Kollock’s mother but not much of a factor for him. (Credit: Jackson Kollock)

With Kollock jumping back into the recruiting game late in the cycle, many programs already have QB commitments. Ranked the 21st best at the position in the Class of 2025 by 247Sports, only five signal callers above him on 247’s list are uncommitted. Only 13 in the Top 50 are without a home.

“A place where I’m gonna develop and a place that’s going to get me to the NFL,” Kollock said when asked what he is looking for in a school. “Those are the two main things. I want to go somewhere with a very strong culture, where the whole team is like a family and directed towards one common goal. I’d say another big thing is just someone that I feel good with. Somewhere that I feel I could see myself playing and going all four years.”

SDSU could be Kollock’s landing spot. He visited practice last week, reconnecting with head coach Sean Lewis. Lewis, himself a victim of the Sanders Way at Colorado, first formed a relationship with Kollock, trying to recruit him to CU. Since his decommitment, the two have picked up where they left off.

“It’s close to home, which my mom loves,” Kollock said when asked his thoughts on SDSU. “I love the coaching staff. Coach Lewis, he recruited me when he was at Boulder. I built a solid relationship while he was there. I built, I feel, a really good relationship with him, and I trust him. I know he’s building something great (at SDSU). (QB) Coach Matty (Johnson), he’s a great dude. I’ve built a good relationship with him, too. And then, it’s a good school, good degrees. So, the academic side checks the boxes there, too, which I love.”

Kollock’s Fit with SDSU

It is easy to see why SDSU is hoping Washington’s loss is their gain. Kollock is dripping with talent and true NFL potential. What he is required to do at Laguna Beach is what Lewis asks his QBs to do at SDSU.

Kollock competes in a no-huddle offense in high school. While the tempo is not as fast as Lewis’ scheme, Kollock is already adept at processing the call from the sideline, translating that to what he sees pre-snap, and executing it on the field. Lewis listed this attribute as the most important any QB can possess.

In throwing for 5,376 yards, 73 TDs, and only eight interceptions in 20 varsity games, Kollock combined that astute processing with the ability to make every throw. His arm strength is special. One throw against Santa Ana High School last September is a sufficient example.

Jackson Kollock at SDSU’s practice. (Credit: Jackson Kollock)

Lining up at the 30-yard line heading in, a rush flushed Kollock to his right. The receiver, lined up wide on the left, ran a deep banana. At the goal line, the wideout was bracketed by defenders with a corner above him and a safety below him. Kollock threw his teammate open with a 45-yard, frozen-rope to the back of the end zone. It was a throw by a high schooler that ended as a toe-dragging reception. For most college quarterbacks, it would have resulted in a jump ball or an interception.

“I 100% see myself fitting into an offense like (SDSU’s’),” Kollock said when asked about Lewis’ system. “It suits my game style perfectly, just because I like to throw the ball around, throw it downfield, and they take their shots as well as (and) stretch the ball to the outside, going across the field. You need a strong arm to be in that offense, and that’s something I feel is one of my best attributes. I can make any throw on the field. So, it’s definitely a program and offense I see myself thriving in.”

Kollock saw Lewis’ Aztec Fast attack at practice on his visit and hopes to make it to the Spring Game on April 20. The pace SDSU competed at stood out to him as did the way it stretched the field vertically and horizontally. The 2025 QB already runs that type of offense at Laguna Beach.

Defenses must respect the deep threat, which opens up room for screens and quick-hitting passes. Kollock can read defenses and quickly get the ball out. Standing 6-foot-4 with his arm strength allows him to set up screens with precision. Intermingled with the deep and intermediate passes described above and Kollock’s description as the complete package comes into focus.

“Jackson Kollock would be a fantastic addition,” Denis Ryan, EVT’s scout, said. “He has better arm strength than what we’ve seen in the SDSU’s talent pool of late. He is big and more filled in than typical high schoolers. Throwing is his forte. He is more of a pro-style than a dual threat. He has upside.”

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Recruiting Update

Following his visit to SDSU, Kollock tripped to Cal. He plans to see Colorado State, Colorado, and Minnesota in the coming weeks. If possible, he would like to wrap up his recruitment before his senior season.

“When I know my decision, I’m gonna make it,” Kollock explained. “But, a general time frame I have is I want to do this round of visits. And then come spring, see what happens there. Probably take a couple more after that and then hopefully narrow down to five-ish schools. Take some officials in June and then make my decision. If I know before then, great. I’ll make my decision before then. If I need a little bit more time, I will take that time. But, that’s the general plan I have.”

In the interview for this article, Kollock’s first response spoke about learning the hard lesson of having to look out for himself first. He, then, spent the rest of the conversation speaking with wisdom and warmth that suggested everything but selfishness.

When describing his future school, he spoke repeatedly about spending four years there. Early playing time isn’t high on his priority list, though the competitor in him will do all that he can to earn it. Kollock is also acutely aware of how his decision impacts those closest to him.

College football has changed, and not for the better. The silver lining is that, like all darkness, it accentuates the light. Kollock shines brighter today because of the unfair adversity he faced with Washington. If Aztec Nation is lucky, Snapdragon Stadium will provide Kollock’s next spotlight.

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