Pleasant Grove’s Jackson Pace Commits To Abilene Christian
Things move quickly in the world of college football recruiting. Just ask Pleasant Grove's star tight end.
Jackson Pace received an offer from Abilene Christian while on an official visit this past weekend and committed to the program Monday. He announced the news through his personal Twitter account and effectively turned down an invitation from fellow NCAA Division I FCS member Prairie View A&M in the process.
Pace (6-4, 220) had very solid junior and senior seasons at Pleasant Grove, a school most recognizable inter-regionally as a perennial powerhouse in baseball. The tight end's football career culminated with a third-round playoff appearance in 2016 after earning a second-place finish in the brutal District 8-4A Division II on tiebreakers.
Celina finished Pace's high school career with a narrow 23-19 victory in pursuit of a second consecutive state championship game appearance on the Class 4A Division II level. That left Pleasant Grove with a final record of 6-7.
Celina had previously defeated Gladewater in a first-round nail biter and lost to Gilmer the next week in the Region II championship game. Both of those schools belonged to Pleasant Grove's district, to give you a scope of the competition within the league.
Pace was primarily a blocking back in Pleasant Grove's Wing-T scheme. He helped the offense to 3,448 total yards.
Abilene Christian went 2-9 overall this past season in its third year as a member at the FCS level. It jumped from NCAA Division II after the 2012 season and played a transitional schedule in 2013 against teams from various levels of college football.
The lackluster 2016 campaign brought an end to Ken Collums' five-year tenure in Abilene, and the school turned to Adam Dorrell to get it out of the rut. Abilene Christian's new head coach just finished a six-year stint at Northwest Missouri State and cemented his legacy there with a second consecutive NCAA Division II national championship game victory.
Dorrell will work with the first Wildcats football team eligible for the FCS playoffs. It is a probationary Division I member across all sports through the end of the academic year in May.
With Pace in the fold, the Wildcats program will begin its fourth season as a member the Southland Conference in September. That will allow the tight end to play relatively close to home on several occasions during his college career against Central Arkansas, Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin.
Abilene Christian currently has three alumni on NFL rosters. Former receiver Taylor Gabriel is still alive in the Super Bowl hunt as a starter for the Atlanta Falcons franchise.
Pace, like all college football prospects currently in their senior year of high school, will become eligible to sign with any school that offers him on Feb. 1.