The reason I had such high hopes for the USC Trojans going into the 2016 season was the presence of JuJu Smith-Schuster at Wide Receiver, the returning starters in the Offensive Line and the offense in general and some defensive players like Cameron Smith, Iman Marshall, Porter Gustin and Cornerback, return man, and Jack of all trades Adoree Jackson.
This team is loaded and it was a disappointment to see them get blown out by the Alabama Crimson Tide, 6-52 in game one. When it’s opening day and you have not had new football to watch in months and are expecting a fun game to watch and 52-6 happens, it’s always a huge let down.
In their first 4 games, the Trojans managed to lose 3 games and start the season with a miserable 1-3
record. Most people expected a lot more out of a team this talented, including myself.
Since then, the Trojans have beaten undefeated Arizona State and once beaten Colorado to even up their record to 3-3. Then, they destroyed Arizona 48-14, to improve to 4-3 which is their first winning record of the season.
But, the damage has probably been done, after losing 3 games and one of them so decisively it’s going to be hard to take the Trojans seriously for the rest of the season.
Forgotten, may be the talent lurking on the roster of the USC Trojans. I still believe they have about as much talent as anyone in the nation not named Alabama or Clemson.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is as good as any Wide Receiver and Adoree Jackson is a super talented Cornerback.
Besides Cornerback, Jackson can play Wide Receiver which he has occasionally and he is one of the scariest return men in the country.
This season, Jackson hasn’t been playing offense like he did in two previous seasons. That has caused his production to increase on defense.
He only has 1 carry this season for 11 yards and now he is one of the team leaders in tackles.
He has 2 Interceptions, and he’s recovered a fumble and returned it 26 yards. He has broken up 4 passes and he has a tackle for loss.
As good as he is as a Defensive Back, it’s the return game where he makes a true difference in the
outcome of a game.
Returning punts, Jackson is averaging 15.55 off of 11 returns and he took one all the way back for a Touchdown. He has another Touchdown on a Kickoff return, off of also 11 returns and an average of almost 32 yards per return. During his sophomore season of 2015, Jackson had 2 punt returns for scores and as a freshmen he had 2 Kickoff returns for scores. He might have had more in punt returns as a freshman, but former Trojan Wide Receiver Nelson Agholer returned punts that season.
I have no stats on how many returns were called back by an illegal block be it a clip, or a hold.
This guy is super fast, just explosive with the ball in his hands. The same is true as a Cornerback as well.
Adoree Jackson is a world class Long Jumper and we thought he was going to make the Olympic team but he came up short in the trials. He just explodes into the play at Cornerback and can knock the ball down, or defend the pass when he seems to be out of position to make a play.
Jackson is not the biggest guy and is probably short of the 5-11, 185 he is listed at by the team roster.
Adoree Jackson and his offensive teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster will no doubt declare for the NFL. Smith-Schuster is a big receiver at 6-2, 220 and both of these guys could go pretty early depending on how they test at the combine.
NFL teams should take a chance on taking Jackson because of his dangerous abilities as a return man. Just the possibilities of changing the outcome of a game on special teams would be worth the draft pick.
The Utah Utes and surprising Colorado are at the top of the Pac 12 leadership standings, but USC is right there behind them by one game. They have beaten Colorado, but lost to the Utes. They are in a battle to face the winner of the North division, either Washington, or Washington State. The Cougars are the hottest team in the Pac 12 right now, but the Huskies of Washington are the best.
USC still has a shot at a good season if they win out which is highly possible. They will have some big losses to replace in the off season, but the Trojans will have talent and the arrival of stud Quarterback Sam Darnold could put them back in elite status soon. But, that will also depend on the coaching staff and head coach Clay Helton. These guys need to prove themselves in the recruiting battles as well as on the field.
College football and the Pac 12 Conference need a strong USC. Washington is apparently going to do it in the North and this Conference needs to get back on track.
In the meantime, don’t get up and go to the bathroom when a USC opponent kicks off, or punts the ball. Adoree Jackson is a big play looking for a place to happen.