If there was anything USC needed as it begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel of its crippling sanctions, it's the incredibly dynamic Adoree' Jackson.
Part phenom, part enigma, Jackson kept all eyes on him during the recruiting season, as he remained mum about his college choice until it was time to sign on the dotted line.
And, boy, did he deliver his announcement with style.
No player has gotten the USC community as excited in such a short period of time as Jackson has, except perhaps the one athlete that inspired Jackson to pursue his college career with the Trojans in the first place.
According to ESPNU (h/t NFL.com), that athlete is Reggie Bush.
Troy's fallen hero has encouraged many to follow in his footsteps, though the university has been forced to disassociate itself with him due to his role in NCAA sanctions. Not only that, but Trojan fans also still remain divided on Bush as to whether he is still one of the greatest Trojans of all time or one of the biggest disgraces.
None of that legacy has had a lasting impact on Jackson, however. He just remembers Bush for the human highlight reel that he was in college.
On national signing day, Jackson told Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com about the impact Bush and USC had on his childhood and how that played a role in shaping his ultimate decision to sign with the Trojans.
"It was my dream as a kid. I wanted to be like Reggie Bush, wearing that No. 5. And that's why I started playing, when I seen him play. So it just made sense," Jackson said in the interview. "I'm trying to bring back them stardom days that they had when he was there."
That's fitting because Jackson has the talent and the skill set to be the next Bush at USC, although obviously at a different position.
Jackson isn't shy about the fact that he wants to wear the controversial number, one that was once synonymous with greatness but is now only discussed in hushed voices.
As a result of NCAA sanctions, No. 5 has been unceremoniously brought out of retirement. No one has worn it yet, but with USC nearing the end of its sanctions, it might be time to dole it out—if only to really move on from Bush's legacy.
Should Jackson be the first guy to receive the honor?
Regardless of how one feels about Bush, it's undeniable how electrifying of a player he was and how important he was to shaping USC's dynasty of the early 2000s. If USC were to allow anyone to wear No. 5 again, it would make sense to treat it the way the Trojans treat No. 55 for linebackers and No. 1 for wide receivers.
It's not something that a player just gets, it's something he has to earn.
When Lane Kiffin was the head coach, he granted Lamar Dawson entrance to the 55 Club. Dawson has by no means had a bad career, but it pales in comparison to those of guys like Junior Seau and Chris Claiborne. Dawson didn't have to work for No. 55, he just got it because he wanted it. Not everyone was happy with that decision.
If Jackson is to don No. 5, it should be because he earned the right.
There are a few drawbacks to wearing No. 5, the most obvious being the constant attention it would draw and the weight of comparisons it carries. Jackson would constantly live in Bush's shadow until he made his own mark. Those are difficult standards to live up to, but Jackson seems poised for the challenge.
In high school, Jackson rocked No. 21, which is currently worn by defensive back Su'a Cravens. If Jackson were to just line up as a wide receiver in 2014, he could also sport that number, as no offensive player is currently wearing it. If he splits time on the other side of the ball, however, he will have to seek another option.
As previously mentioned, No. 1—most famously worn by wide receiver Mike Williams—is available and Jackson would just as well do that number justice.
It's common for athletes to switch numbers over the course of a career. For example, Marqise Lee had worn No. 17 originally before switching to No. 9 once it became available. So, it would make sense for Jackson to play his freshman year with another number before ultimately switching to No. 5 if he delivers as expected.
After all, if there's any player than can electrify the crowd and elicit fear from opposing teams the way Bush once did, it's Jackson. Should he prove his worth, Jackson could—and should have the opportunity to—be a pivotal factor in redefining the significance of No. 5 to USC's tradition.
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