Cornerbacks Jack Jones and Keyshawn “Pie” Young will get time on offense during the course of USC football spring camp, head coach Clay Helton said Saturday.
USC football said farewell to three-way star Adoree’ Jackson in January, but the Trojans are ready to test out the possibility of continuing his legacy with another pair of cornerbacks.
Both Jack Jones and Keyshawn “Pie” Young, who started spring camp on the defensive side of the ball at cornerback, will have the chance to impress on offense over the coming weeks, head coach Clay Helton said after practice on Saturday
The experiment will start with Young getting some time at receiver when the Trojans come back from spring break in two weeks. Then Jones will be worked into the rotation during Week 3 of spring camp.
“We want to give [Jones] two really good weeks of being able to focus on that corner position and then start mixing him in, kind of like we did Adoree’ [Jackson],” Helton said, via USC Athletics. “Not a total commitment to a full practice but segments in practice with things that he can do well.”
Back when he was a five-star recruit coming out of Long Beach Poly, Jones drew comparisons to Jackson for his all-around ability as a cornerback, receiver and returner.
Though Jones’ freshman campaign was more muted than Jackson’s, his elite athleticism makes him the obvious heir-apparent to Jackson.
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In addition to fighting for a starting place at corner in 2017, Jones could earn Jackson’s reps at receiver while also competing to take over Jackson’s role as USC’s primary punt and kick returner.
Helton said he plans to try Jones on offense in the same way the Trojans used Jackson, but with the method they used for the latter part of Jackson’s career.
During spring camp in 2015, the sophomore Jackson alternated days between offense and defense. However, as coaches wanted to keep his focus more fully on perfecting the cornerback position, his involvement on offense during practice was limited to specific packages for the remainder of his time at USC.
Young is the dark horse challenger for that role as well. Though less heralded than Jones coming out of high school, the Miami product boasts a similar skill set. With a starting place less likely for Young at cornerback, he could have more freedom than Jones to pursue a role on the offensive side of the ball.
UPDATE: Young tweeted on Saturday that he has officially made the move back to offense.
The move to wide receiver makes sense this spring with Trevon Sidney out due to hip surgery and Deontay Burnett working across all three positions, leaving extra reps open in the slot.