USC Football: Adoree’ Jackson To Focus On Defense, Returns


Adoree’ Jackson will focus on being a defensive back and kick returner for USC football in 2016, with his offensive participation taking a back seat.

Adoree’ Jackson is a three-way star, but the third aspect of his contributions to USC football will be more limited in 2016.

“I talked to Coach Helton the other day and we came to the decision that I’m going to play defensive back, focusing primarily on that,” Jackson said at Pac-12 Media Days Thursday.

Jackson has played both cornerback and wide receiver for the Trojans, even starting at both positions concurrently for one game in 2015.

That is unlikely to happen again in 2016 however.

Though Jackson will still be available to play on offense, he acknowledged that USC’s great depth at receiver has reduced his need to play on offense.

“If I want to go on offense I can,” Jackson said. “We’re stacked and loaded at receiver so I really don’t need to be out there starting on both sides.”

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Jackson was a finalist for the Hornung Award last year as one of the nation’s most versatile players. Ultimately he lost out to Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey but he could challenge for the honor again this year whether not his offensive touches decrease.

Talking about his role, Jackson referenced Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson, the only primarily defensive player in college football history to win the award.

“If [Helton] needs me, I’ll go out there for sure and get a couple plays in but other than that I talked to him about being in the role like Charles Woodson,” Jackson said.

The important thing to note there? Woodson had just 12 catches during his Heisman campaign in 1997.

SEE ALSO: What would it take for Adoree’ Jackson to win the Heisman

With Jackson’s focus on defense, the Trojans will need to have one of the stable of capable wide receivers on the roster step up to partner JuJu Smith-Schuster more consistently this year.

Jackson was USC’s second-leading receiver with 27 catches for 414 yards and two touchdowns.