USC Football News: Adoree’ Jackson Nabs Two INTs and More Notes from Spring Practice


On days USC football news has not been dominated by Bryce Dixon coverage, the Trojan defense has provided most of the headlines this spring and Tuesday was no different. The defense forced five turnovers at the Coliseum during the first full-pads practice of the year.

Adoree’ Jackson was the star of the proceedings, returning to practice after missing Saturday’s to attend a funeral.

The sophomore phenom, who has yet to log an official pick in his Trojan career. was back on defense and caught two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

“The biggest positive from a defensive standpoint was five turnovers. It’s been a point of emphasis and it’s something I challenged the defenders on,” Sarkisian said after practice, noting missed opportunities in the first couple days of the spring.

Even so, it was the offense who came out with the win in the final five play battle to close the day, converting three straight third down conversions for the victory.

Safeties Bring Their A-Game

USC only has two scholarship safeties available this spring, but Sarkisian is pleased with both Leon McQuay III and John Plattenburg for the way they have approached camp.

“[McQuay and Plattenburg] have both elevated their game,” Sarkisian said. “They’re playing fast. They’re playing physical.”

The head coach attributed their play to being in the second year of the system and the way familiarity breeds confidence.

From a system perspective, Sarkisian also commented on the value of having two safeties with backgrounds as cornerbacks giving USC to ability to play them man-to-man up against slot receivers in spread offenses.

Meanwhile, Chris Hawkins involvement at the position seems to be increasing.

Soma Vainuku Shows Off Some Havili Moves

Soma Vainuku did not catch a pass all season for USC in 2014, but his extra involvement in spring camp has proven that lack of ability caused that goose egg statistic.

The rumbling fullback has been filling in for the Trojans at tailback this spring with limited numbers at the position. USC’s only scholarship tailbacks are Justin Davis and Tre Madden, who is being limited this spring because of health concerns.

“Soma is a big, physical runner. He’s heavy and he’s faster than you think,” Sarkisian said. “When he gets going, there’s not a lot of moves, but he’s going to run straight ahead kind of like a big freight train.”

Vainuku caught a long touchdown pass to end practice while Jahleel Pinner also added a touchdown reception of his own downfield, indicating there may be more utilization of the fullbacks in 2015.

Other Notes:

  • Justin Davis should be able to show off his explosiveness more this season with more carries and a better chance to build a rhythm, Sarkisian said.
  • Quinton Powell accounted for one of the defenses’ five interceptions. He also had a sack in 11-on-11 drills.
  • Steven Mitchell had a pair of long touchdown catches, while Sarkisian was forthright in his assessment of junior college transfer Isaac Whitney’s progression:
  • Despite Bob Connelly expressing a desire to have his offensive linemen slim down, Toa Lobedahn has bulked to 290 pounds and wants to gain another ten, according to Ryan Abraham of
  • Leonard Williams, Gerald Bowman attended practice at the Coliseum ahead of USC’s Pro Day tomorrow.
  • NFL scouts attended practice, including a representative from the Patriots.
  • Sarkisian had no update on Dixon’s status. He remains absent from practice.

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