What Position Is Best Fit for 2014 5-Star ATH Adoree' Jackson?
Players like Adoree' Jackson are always the most intriguing in every recruiting cycle. The southern California class of 2014 prospect has an abundance of talent, takes on a variety of roles for his high school squad and displays enough versatility to create differing opinions on which position fits him best.
Jackson, a 5'10", 180-pound Los Angeles County athlete, brings a ton to the table for college coaching staffs to consider. He is listed as California's No. 1 player in his class and the nation's ninth-best player, according to 247Sports composite rankings.
Those rankings also peg Jackson as the second-best cornerback in the country, but an athlete like him is better off avoiding labels. He'll take on several different tasks at Junipero Serra High School (Gardena, Calif.) as a senior.
In the fall, he's a dynamic football standout who is prone to play every skill position during the course of a game. Jackson leads the Cavaliers basketball team as guard during winter months.
His spring sport is the track and field circuit, where he's a state champion long-jumper. Jackson is a young man who could carve out a collegiate athletic career beyond football, but the sport certainly has his heart.
Serra head coach Scott Altenberg described Jackson's jack-of-all-trades role on the team to Daily Breeze reporter Tony Ciniglio.
“It’s going to be like a ‘Where’s Waldo’ kind of deal. We’re going to move him all around and do a lot of things to get him the ball.”
Jackson will spend his season switching spots on the offense. Some snaps he'll line up in the backfield, while others will send him spread out wide.
Defensively, he's a shutdown corner who manhandles opponents and rarely surrenders a step in pass coverage. His wide range of skills have attracted overwhelming attention from the college ranks.
The offer list includes USC, LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee and Notre Dame, according to 247Sports.
Jackson remains undecided and refuses to rule out any possibilities.
With so many options on the table, let's take a look at three positions Jackson could ultimately play when he makes the jump to college football. His attributes fit the bill for each spot, but perhaps there's one that stands above the rest.
Jackson's track career has helped him become a ferocious downhill runner. When he gets his hands on the football and picks a point of direction, it's tough to bring him down with just one tackler.
Jackson can throw a mean stiff arm and continues churning his leg when caught up in a swarm.
No position would offer Jackson more touches than running back, where he could also provide a pass-catching presence out of the backfield. Much like his childhood rushing idol, Jackson is a multi-faceted weapon at running back.
"When I first started playing football, I was a running back watching Reggie Bush at USC," he told Los Angeles Times reporter Eric Sondheimer. "I always wanted to do the things he did. I feel comfortable at running back. If I need to do it, I'll do it."
Serra has an impressive list of recent graduates who've gone on to college stardom as receivers. USC standouts Robert Woods (Buffalo Bills 2013 second-round NFL draft selection) and Marqise Lee are each alums.
Coach Altenberg sees similarities between Lee, a Heisman Trophy candidate, and Jackson
"It's unbelievable the way he runs, the way he competes," Altenberg told The Daily Breeze. "I saw Marqise and told him, 'This is you.' It's freaky."
Jackson has top-tier leaping ability and excellent judgment of where a pass is headed from his experience as a cornerback. He sees the ball into his hands before turning upfield at full speed, an important lesson for any quick receiver aiming to slip out of coverage.
Offensive coordinators can really open the playbook for Jackson, who could do a lot of damage off bubble screens. His field awareness and change-of-direction skills lead to substantial yards after the catch.
This is a no-brainer. Jackson has few rivals (in fact, he may have none) in terms of step-for-step coverage technique in the 2014 class. He plays against excellent competition in southern California and rises to the occasion.
You don't see Jackson give up on plays and his athletic prowess is simply astonishing when he goes skyward to contend a pass. He can contort his body with ease, batting away would-be completions and pulling down acrobatic interceptions.
A program can cross 'starting cornerback' off its list of needs for at least three seasons if it lands Jackson.
What position should Adoree' Jackson play in college?
Two-way players are far and few between in today's college football landscape but Jackson almost demands consideration by a coaching staff. Who knows, maybe that makes the difference in his recruitment.
But since we're narrowing it to one position here, let's make sure Jackson is getting the ball in his hands on a routine basis. His best fit is wide receiver, where a coach can scheme to set him up for short slants in space or send him streaking on a seam route.
Jackson is physical enough to shrug off safeties and savvy enough to outmaneuver cornerbacks. He's a home run threat from anywhere on the field and the opportunity to build a game plan around him is too tantalizing to pass up.
B/R college football columnist Tyler Donohue spent three seasons with the Rutgers University football program's recruiting department, contributing to three classes (2007-09) under head coach Greg Schiano.
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