Five potential instant contributors from USC football’s 2019 recruiting class

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /
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Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

Drake Jackson

Four-star defensive end Drake Jackson is already on campus and in USC’s weight program. It seems to be serving him well. According to Helton, the Centennial-product has added nearly 20 pounds since the start of January. That’s taking the “Freshman 15” to heart.

Jackson is USC’s second-highest rated player in the class and has all the skills to be an all-around presence on the defensive front for the Trojans. Greg Biggins of 247Sports compared him to Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints.

Best of all, Biggins made note of his “tremendous motor” and willingness to stick to his pursuit and not give up on plays. That’s the mindset of a competitive player who takes pride in his performance. And it’s that mindset which could see Jackson earn playing time despite increasingly stable depth on the defensive line.

It helps that Jackson could see time at outside linebacker in the Predator linebacker spot or at defensive end on the interior.

At 6-foot-4, now-275 pounds, Jackson’s body compares favorably to that of versatile lineman Christian Rector. If the Trojans opt to keep Rector on the inside, Jackson could be an option to fill his role as a larger presence in the Predator role, compared to others who will be competing for playing time there like Hunter Echols and Eli’Jah Winston, both of whom weigh in at 240 or lighter.

Trojan coaches have expressed a desire to create more rotation by utilizing different personnel groupings for different jobs. Jackson may benefit from that, if he can hit the ground running and earn enough trust this offseason.

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