The junior, who frequently turned heads as a kick returner and wide receiver while also holding down his defensive duties, waited until the Monday deadline to announce his decision.
Jackson finished his third campaign at USC with 55 tackles, 11 pass breakups, and five interceptions. He's projected as a late first-round pick.
|Adoree’ Jackson was a major contributor on offense, defense and special teams for the Trojans. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)|
USC star Adoree' Jackson declares for 2017 NFL draft
The versatile Adoree’ Jackson is headed to the next level.
Jackson, who served as a cornerback, receiver and explosive kick returner during his three-year career at USC, announced Monday that he will forgo his final season of collegiate eligibility and declare for the 2017 NFL draft. Monday was the final day underclassmen could declare for the draft.
Jackson’s decision comes a few weeks after USC capped off its season with a comeback win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl. After a 1-3 start, the Trojans finished the season on a nine-game winning streak. Jackson left the Rose Bowl with an injury, one that was later deemed minor.
“After the Rose Bowl, I had many thoughts running through my head. What was on my mind was that nothing is guaranteed in life and to take advantage of every opportunity that is put in front of you. With that being said, I would like to announce that I have decided to forgo my final season of eligibility and enter the 2017 NFL draft,” Jackson wrote in a message posted on his Twitter account.
“It’s been an incredible three years playing for one of the greatest traditions in college football. I made the best decision of my life when I chose to come to USC, and finishing it off with a Rose Bowl win is one of the best ways I could have ever hoped for it to end.”
Jackson made plays all over the field for the Trojans over the last three seasons. As a defensive back, he won the 2016 Thorpe Award for the nation’s top defensive back when he finished the season with 55 tackles and five interceptions. In his previous two seasons, he combined for 84 tackles and one interception.
On offense, Jackson combined for 39 catches for 628 yards and six interceptions. His best season as a receiver was in 2015, when he caught 27 passes for 414 yards and two scores.
Jackson has been a fantastic kick returner throughout his career, and that is likely where he makes his most immediate impact at the next level. Over three seasons, he averaged 27.1 yards per kickoff return and returned four — two in 2014 and two in 2016 — for touchdowns. He also averaged 12.6 yards per punt return and had four more touchdowns — two in 2015 and two in 2016.
Jackson is the third USC player to leave school early for the 2017 draft, joining wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster and offensive lineman Damien Mama.
USC's all-everything athlete Adoree Jackson to enter 2017 NFL Draft
On the final day to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft as an underclassmen, USC cornerback Adoree Jackson added some star power to this spring's draft class.
A superstar in football and track and field with Olympic-level athleticism, Jackson was a unanimous All-American in 2016 (USC's first since Marqise Lee in 2012) after a season of participating in all three phases of the game for the Trojans. Here at CBS Sports, Jackson was honored as a first team pick for cornerback and punt returner and second team selection as an all-purpose threat and kick returner.
Jackson was a three-year starter and has showcased NFL-level ability from the moment he set foot on campus. This decision doesn't come as a shock to anyone around USC as the school announced the decision with a tribute to his many contributions to the program.
Heading into the Trojans' Rose Bowl win against Penn State, Jackson had 51 tackles (including 2 for losses of 4 yards), a team-best 11 pass deflections, a team-high four interceptions and a team-best two fumble recoveries on defense in 2016. He also returned 22 kickoffs for 671 yards (30.5 average) with 2 TDs and 19 punts for 302 yards (15.9 avg) with 2 TDs on special teams. He also had 5 carries for 49 yards (9.8 avg) and a 52-yard TD reception while playing on offense.