Datona Jackson to sign with UCLA, not USC football on Early Signing Day

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Harry How/Getty Images /

Three-star junior college prospect Datona Jackson was set to sign with USC football on Early Signing Day, but will end up falling to UCLA instead.

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Less than 24 hours ago, it seemed as though USC football was on the verge of picking up a mature presence on the edge with the looming pledge of three-star junior college defensive end Datona Jackson.

Last week, Jackson told the Desert Sun in Palm Desert that he was planning to sign with the Trojans on Wednesday. However, at the 11th hour things changed and now Jackson is expected to sign with UCLA on Early Signing Day.

What happened? On Tuesday night the Desert Sun’s Andrew John reported that USC had pulled Jackson’s scholarship offer.

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“I’ve confirmed that USC pulled its offer to Datona Jackson today and he’ll instead sign with UCLA on Wednesday,” John tweeted.

Scholarship offers being pulled is one of the grimier aspects of college football recruiting. It happens, for one reason or another, but it never leaves a good taste in the mouth.

Why would the Trojans pull a scholarship? It is possible another, more highly-valued recruit expressed their desire to join USC’s 2019 recruiting class, leaving no room for the apparently unofficially committed Jackson.

Either way, there will be disappointment for Jackson, but not the absence of a happy ending.

A 23-year-old prospect from College of the Desert, ranking 63rd among JUCO players, Jackson has one of the more interesting recruiting stories in the country.

The 6-foot-4, 265-pound end was an unheralded high school prospect in Ohio in 2013 and failed to garner interest as a senior because of a broken leg. He graduated high school and went to work for his father in the Coachella Valley in the resort industry, leaving football behind for three years. Then in 2017, he put his pads back on and joined the junior college ranks.


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By the 2018 season, Jackson had produced 12.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks for the Roadrunners at outside linebacker, which brought Division I offers to his mailbox. He considered scholarships from UCLA, Oregon, Colorado and Nebraska in addition to USC. Ultimately settling on the Trojans until this late hiccup.

At the very least, Jackson will play Division I football for the Bruins. And he’ll have the chance to make the Trojans regret passing on him with the two seasons of eligibility he has left.

Afterall, John tweeted a follow-up to his intial report: “Was told by a coach that he’s going to be a Bruin ‘and can’t wait to play USC.'”