USC football: Drake Jackson named Freshman All-American

USC football defensive end Drake Jackson. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC football defensive end Drake Jackson. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

USC defensive end Drake Jackson was named a Freshman All-American by 247Sports while quarterback Kedon Slovis has also gotten mentions.

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Going into the 2019 season, freshman defensive end Drake Jackson received favorable comparisons to Leonard Williams and Rasheem Green. Then he managed the most impressive part: Living up to those comparisons.

Jackson completed his stellar freshman campaign with 5.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss, both marks leading the team, plus 41 tackles, three pass break ups and a forced fumble.

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That earned him a first team nod on 247Sports Freshman All-American team, as well as a second team selection on the Pro Football Focus Freshman All-American squad.

Trojan quarterback Kedon Slovis didn’t make the cut for the first team on either squad after blowing up with 3,242 yards and 28 touchdowns with nine interceptions on his way to a passer rating of 167.61. That rating is 10th nationally, second in the Pac-12, and second among freshmen in 2019.

Why wasn’t Slovis given a full-fledged Freshman All-American honor? It’s simple, North Carolina’s Sam Howell has put up historic numbers while leading his team to a bowl berth. His 35 touchdowns are the most by a true freshman in history.

The folks at 247Sports themselves acknowledged the bad luck for Slovis and others: “Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels or USC’s Kedon Slovis would have been slam-dunk choices almost any other year.”

Granted, PFF gave their first team pick to UCF’s Dillon Gabriel thanks to a number of Top 20 statistical marks. Slovis was a third teamer.

Jackson and Slovis weren’t the only Trojans to be mentioned in discussions for Freshman All-American status. Wide receiver Drake London picked up a third team mention from PFF, with Colorado’s State’s Dante Wright and East Carolina’s C.J. Johnson slotted in ahead of him.

London was fourth in receiving for USC with 35 catches for 533 yards and four touchdowns. That’s a strong showing especially with the likes of Michael Pittman, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns commanding 60+ touches each.

Though none warranted Freshman All-American talk, the Trojans also had reason to celebrate the debut performances of several other players. At running back, Markese Stepp looked like a bonafide star before his injury while Kenan Christon flashed with speed when he was thrust into action.

Among defensive backs, the likes of Chase Williams, Chris Steele and Isaac Taylor-Stuart laid solid foundations in their first seasons of full action. Max Williams and Dorian Hewett were also bright in cameo appearances.

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