There was the slimmest of hopes that Adoree’ Jackson would give USC football a major boost by returning for his senior season, but the cornerback dashed those hopes on Sunday, just one day before the deadline to declare.
The star cornerback-receiver-returner will enter the 2017 NFL draft, completing an outstanding career at USC after his junior season.
Jackson had said that he always saw himself staying at USC for four years, but he indicated in December that he would sit down with his family after the Rose Bowl and consider an early departure for the pros.
Jackson only added to that draft value as a junior. In 2016, he tallied four interceptions, 11 pass break ups, 51 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery, becoming just the second Trojan to ever win the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.
On special teams, Jackson added 302 yards and two touchdowns on punt returns and 671 yards and two touchdowns on kickoff returns. He also took his one reception on the year 52 yards for a touchdown against Notre Dame and had 49 yards on five rushing attempts on the year.
USC will miss Jackson’s presence in 2017, but his decision to leave for the NFL seemed inevitable even before the season.
Without Jackson, the Trojans will lean on Iman Marshall as the top cornerback next year, with top-level prospect Jack Jones likely to become the next in a line of exceptional USC defenders.