USC is undergoing a pleasantly victorious recruiting cycle en route to national signing day, but something is still missing: Adoree' Jackson.
Los Angeles Times' Eric Sondheimer tweeted this on Monday evening in regard to the No. 7 football recruit in the nation: "Serra's Adoree' Jackson is scheduled to make his announcement next Wednesday at 11:05 a.m. from school gym on ESPNU."
The Trojans will be one of those programs that are anxiously awaiting their alarm clock on Feb. 5. Although a snub wouldn't cripple the incoming class, re-emerging standards are in desperate need of Jackson.
If USC can land a top-10 player in 2014 while still being handcuffed to sanctions, then all repressed heartache from the past decade is well on its way to evaporating. Per Fansided's Patrick Schmidt, thwarting fellow finalists in rival UCLA and SEC suitor Florida in the process would serve as additional incentive.
Southern California sports the No. 25 recruiting class, good for fifth best in the Pac-12. Considering how it's been docked 10 scholarships under ongoing NCAA penalties for the last three seasons, the feat should be regarded highly.
Of course, with 247Sports suggesting that USC flaunts a streak of top-10 classes as far back as 2002 regardless of deterrents, and due to the immovable expectations of the Los Angeles commodity, the program will strive to pull that ranking up within the next week.
USC's seven 4-star recruits are headlined by most recent enrollee Claudeson Pelon at defensive end and hard commitments from this past weekend's official visits, which were highlighted by Bleacher Report's Trenise Ferreira. Even so, Steve Sarkisian is lacking that potential gridiron difference-maker.
Jackson's 0.9959 composite rating will push Sark's 2014 crew over the edge, joining last year's 5-star Su'a Cravens in the defensive backfield while making him USC's first top-10 recruit since Gerald Bowman in 2012.
Jackson fills the cleats—you don't lead a team named Speed otherwise.
Per Fox Sports' Rahshaun Haylock, the 5'9.5'' (and detail-oriented, I must add) 182-pound prospect made sure to cash in on his promise to leave common Trojans pipeline Junipero Serra with a happy last impression. In an 18-0 shutout of Team Impact at Sunday's West Coast Bowl, he showcased his touted recovery speed, ball skills, return capability and intangible intimidation factor. His harmlessly playful personality fits the Hollywood mold as well.
He's transparently electrifying as the nation's No. 1 cornerback and California native, and USC yearns for him to follow in the footsteps of high school alumni Marqise Lee, Robert Woods, George Farmer and incoming Jalen Greene, according to Fansided's Matthew Moreno. Interestingly enough, Coach Sarkisian envisions Jackson clumped together with that offensive crowd.
Moreno elaborates: "The hunch here is Steve Sarkisian is recruiting Jackson to play offense; considering Sarkisian’s uptempo style and willingness to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers."
Of all assistants to employ, incumbent wide receivers coach Tee Martin actually recruited Jackson to be a pass-catcher. His 17 career interceptions indicate he can possibly operate the slot or flank almost as well as he defends those areas. With Lee departing early for the NFL draft, Shay Fields announcing his decommitment last week and the receiving corps as cursed with injury as the rest of the roster in 2013, Jackson looks to be a cartoon character playing every position at once.
Which remaining target should be USC's top priority?
After watching UCLA's linebacker-running back hybrid Myles Jack thrive as a freshman, it's all the more reason for USC to steal Jackson from the Bruins. His pedigree on special teams to occasionally spell All-Pac-12 Nelson Agholor is an added bonus.
That being said, Jackson's predominant responsibility is fortifying the secondary. Last season, USC's second level saw wide branding as a defensive weakness but admittedly grew as a unit behind the front seven of Clancy Pendergast's 5-2 pass rush. Now, with redshirt senior Josh Shaw returning, sophomore Cravens budding and Leon McQuay prime to step up, go ahead and deem this secondary a strength, alleviating pressure and spreading wealth in Justin Wilcox's coverage-based 3-4 scheme.
Jackson would subsequently provide both flexibility and star power. Shaw can feel more comfortable moving back to safety and realigning the depth chart, while Jackson aspires to assume Nickell Robey's void as a true shutdown corner for the Trojans.
No matter which rotation—offense or defense—he ultimately falls into, Jackson satisfies USC's mantra of simultaneously boasting talent and healing a depth chart threatened by sanctions. Offensive line is allegedly a stronger priority, but the additions of Toa Lobendahn and Viane Talamaivao make Damien Mama more of Polynesian fluff at this point, whereas Jackson is the surest recruit on the Trojans radar.
According to Inside USC's Scott Wolf, Jackson hints that he'll be doing something different upon his announcement. For USC's sake, let's hope that means modeling the genie cufflinks and granting its wish. In their final recruiting period handicapped by NCAA punishment, the Trojans need a moral victory.
All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless noted otherwise.