87 days to USC football: John Jackson III primed to benefit from depth concerns

RoT Countdown / Photo by Alicia de Artola (Reign of Troy)
RoT Countdown / Photo by Alicia de Artola (Reign of Troy) /

John Jackson III is beginning his career in the No. 87 jersey, which is worth looking at as there are 87 days until USC football’s 2019 season arrives.

25 Best Three-Star Recruits. BEST OF USC

The countdown to USC football’s 2019 season is now at 87 days.

What players have made their name in that number for the Trojans?

TRENDING: What does Chris Steele’s transfer mean for USC?

Let’s look at the No. 87 and its place in USC football history:

Who wore it best?

You have to go back quite a ways to learn about USC’s first and only All-American in the No. 87 jersey.

That man was Ralph Heywood, who played during one of the more interesting periods of USC football, with World War II impacting just about every squad.

CHECK OUT: USC is projected to finish 6-6 in 2019

Heywood had been a reliable standout for USC for a couple of years, both as an end and a punter, before really hitting the stage in 1943.

With the Trojans on the way to a Rose Bowl victory that year, he set the school’s single-game receiving record with 101 yards and a touchdown on four receptions against St. Mary’s Pre-Flight. He gained 61 of those yards on a first quarter touchdown to give his team the lead. It was the first time a USC player had racked up more than 100 yards receiving in a game.

That year, he led USC in receiving, catching 11 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

MORE: Carson Palmer is a favorite for the CFB Hall of Fame

There’s quite a “what if” regarding Heywood’s All-American campaign. After all, he did it while missing time on account of military service.

Head coach Jeff Cravath said in the San Francisco Examiner, “it isn’t like the old days. You get the football players when the military gets through with them.”

Heywood himself was in the Marines. He sat out USC’s victory over San Francisco in order to take his military exams, then played twice more for the Trojans before he was called east for training, making him unavailable for the final four contests of the campaign. He was at a Marines Corps base in South Carolina was when he was announced as a consensus All-American pick for 1943.

USC was 8-0 with Heyward on the field. They lost two games immediately after he departed, but rallied to secure a Rose Bowl berth and victory with Heyward and several other key contributors missing.

THROWBACK: USC vs. UCLA in 1943 was the wackiest game in rivalry history

He’d ultimately stick with the military even after the war and his brief football career in the pros ended, serving in the Korean and Vietnam Wars before retiring.

Who wears it now?

In 2019, the No. 87 was taken up by John Jackson III, the son of USC great John Jackson. It has meaning for the family. Though Jackson made his name wearing the No. 1, he started out in the same number in which his son now begins his Trojan career.

More from Reign of Troy

Jackson III is an intriguing prospect for USC going into the 2019 season. He was a member of the 2018 recruiting class, but took a grayshirt, delaying his enrollment to this spring when the Trojans had room to bring him in.

It was good timing for Jackson III too because USC’s receiving corps dealt with serious depth issues in Spring Camp and he was present to take advantage of them.

Working in one of the outside receiver spots, Jackson III emerged as an active target, proving more than reliable enough for the Trojan quarterbacks.

Jackson has his work cut out for him with other high-profile receiving reinforcements arriving for Fall Camp, but the head start he received in the spring could set him up for a role in USC’s new Air Raid.

There should be touches to go around.

Stats to know: 87

  • The fewest points allowed by USC in a season is 87, a feat achieved by Trojan teams in 1948 and 1967. The latter defense was crowned as national champions.
  • The most touchdowns scored by a Trojan offense was 87 in 2005.
  • Tight end Fred Davis had seven receptions for a game-high 87 yards in the 2008 Rose Bowl victory over Illinois, 49-17.
  • In that same Rose Bowl, Hershel Dennis scored his first touchdown since 2004 on an 87-yard drive by the Trojans.
  • USC and Nebraska combined for 1,040 yards and 87 points in the 2014 Holiday Bowl, which the Trojans won 45-42.
  • USC”s 87th All-American in history was linebacker Dennis Johnson in 1979.
  • Wide receiver Nelson Agholor’s career-long reception was 87 yards in 2014 against Washington State.

Next. 88 Days to Kickoff