But Jackson's experience at Rutgers' camp in June is the reason Scout.com's No.8-rated outside linebacker has the Scarlet Knights high on his list.
"He's excited to see what Rutgers is like, the living environment and the players and those kinds of things," Ward said. "I know that the one of the big reasons we've got both guys considering Rutgers is (special teams coach) Robb Smith. I've known him for eight years, and he's as good as a guy, as honest as a guy in college football as you're going to find.
"I would have no problem sending my guys to a place like Rutgers knowing Robb's there. I know they're going to be treated fairly and honestly, and all the things I've heard about coach Schiano are along the same lines."
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Jackson has a few handfuls of offers as teams look to use him as a hybrid on the edge of the defense. At Rutgers, he is a guy who could rush the passer and also drop into coverage.
Since the spring Jackson maintained his strong interest in Texas Tech because of his relationships with the coaching staff.
After McKeesport plays Seneca Valley, Jackson will head to Lubbock for his official visit.
"I know that Branden has planned his trip to Texas Tech for a while and I know he really enjoyed his unofficial to Rutgers," Ward said. "That was a place he thought he could see himself going to. I know Branden wants to take multiple visits, maybe up to his five.
"I know Rutgers is very much in the mix, but I don't think he has pared anything down."
Ward added the process could gain clarity after Jackson returns from Texas Tech.
"A lot will be told when he comes back about what he really felt about it," Ward said. "I think all things are pointing toward him being excited about it. He may come back and love it, and he may come back and think something else."