As the sixth ranked player in his recruiting class, there is every reason for Adoree Jackson to be selfish and cocky. He was a five-star, could go to any school in the country, and had been the hot topic of discussion throughout his high school career. But that’s just not Adoree. It wasn’t him in high school and he’s sure that won’t be him in college. He’s determined not to let all the attention get to his head.
“It’s going pretty well because I’m learning and that’s what I wanted to do,” Jackson said. “Learn everything. Not trying to come in and act like I’ve been here before and have done this before. I just want to come in and learn. Take everything in and get the older guys’ trust as well and then see where I can go from there.”
Some might love the attention, some might hate it. Has it bothered Jackson at all?
“No, it doesn’t really bother me at all,” Jackson responded when asked about the attention he’s received. “It’s good for the team, team-wise. More or less the team. It doesn’t really bother me at all. I’m just focusing in and like I said, trying to get better at my craft and perfecting it. That’s been my focus.”
Another key part about focusing is shutting out all external distractions. When you’re as highly regarded as Jackson is, that’s harder said than done. Add in the fact that he’s trying to learn two playbooks at once, one for each side of the ball, and it may seem impossible to focus and learn. But Jackson insists that he’s up for the challenge.
“It’s not really that tough if you sit down and focus on trying to learn and want to get better and wanting to know it,” Jackson said. “That’s probably one of the things that you want to get down and doing. You come and learn the playbook and you need to want to know it and that’s what I’ve been doing. Studying and not getting distracted with the social media on Twitter and Instagram. I’ve just been focusing on my playbook and trying to get better day by day.”
Many kids these days are distracted by social media, but it hasn’t been hard for Jackson to stay away because he knows the ultimate goal he’s working towards.
“It hasn’t been hard,” Jackson said. “I know that if I want to get on the field and show the coaches trust and earn their trust, I have to show them that I’m doing the right things (like) learning the playbook and putting the extra hours in.”
Learning the playbook is one thing, but actually applying that knowledge to the field is another. Jackson plans on playing both ways this year and plans to embrace the fact that he will do so.
“I think it’s more about a few things,” Jackson said. “Just getting a good look, me on defense and getting a good look for the older guys. They might see somebody do something outside of me. But at the same time it’s just me competing and having fun with the other guys. We’re just getting better at the same time.”
Since he will be playing both ways, does he have a preference of what side of the ball he wants to play on?
“I don’t really have a preference,” Jackson responded. “Whatever I’m needed to do on the field, that’s what I’m going to say I’m going to do when my name is called, when my jersey is called. Other than that, I don’t really have a preference.”
Making the transition from a high school class room to a college class room is difficult. Making the transition from high school football to college football may even be harder. Kids often find many surprises at the next level and Jackson is not unique in this fashion.
“The biggest surprise would be that, like everybody says, I’m not in high school anymore,” Jackson said. “It’s different. High school camp is way smoother, way easier. You could have fun and do what you want to do, but (now) you’re going to have to grind and have to get to work.”
Making the transition from high school to college even harder, was a foot injury that Jackson suffered early in camp. Despite the challenges it gave him, Jackson feels like he was able to keep up pretty well.
“I felt like I could keep up with my mental reps,” Jackson explained. “Just focusing on things. Seeing what the receivers do so I can get better and then when I come back, just trying to implement that into my game. Other than that I was just staying in my film, staying in the playbook and just trying to get better mind-wise.”
Every USC fan would like to think that Jackson can come in right away and start on either side of the ball. He may very well do just that, but there’s also a high possibility he doesn’t see the field as much as he’d like to. The only thing Jackson knows he needs to do is keep on doing what he’s doing.
“I have no idea,” Jackson responded when asked about how close he thinks he is to starting. “It’s God-willing right now at this time. I just got to keep on making plays at practice and keep on doing what my abilities are. It’s just God-willing at this point.”