Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, California is a football dynasty. They won CIF Division ll Championships in '09 and 2012, have had 14-1 and 15-0 seasons. Along the way they produced Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and George Farmer, three highly-touted receivers that wound up at USC.
The latest Cavalier five-star recruit is Adoree' "Sweetpea" Jackson, a 5-10, 182-lb. cornerback, receiver and return man.
Jackson might be the most talented of all of them.
Man of steel: At clinics, camps and in 7-on-7 competition, 5-star Adoree' Jackson is a speeding bullet, able to outleap tall defenders in a single bound. (uclascout.com photo)
His junior year highlight video is utterly sick. Here are some notes from a recruiting article written for Ducks Sports Authority this morning:
He's the punter for his high school team, and on the third play of his junior highlight video he fakes a punt and takes it 78 yards for a touchdown. On the 4th play he leaps to intercept a pass and returns that 97 yards for a touchdown. On the fifth, he's returning a punt, weaving through the coverage team for an 86-yard td. He has talent that makes coaches spill their coffee and call another coach into the room.
Play 6 is another fake punt and a 50-yard score, with a double spin move at the 20 to shake two tacklers. Play 7, he picks a punt off the ground in front of two defenders, jukes both of them, cuts left, then right and outraces everyone for a 72-yard score. It's insane, video-game stuff. Play 8, he intercepts a pass at his own 30, cuts to the middle and breaks five tackles running straight up the field for another 70-yard score. Punt return right, 43 yards, touchdown.
Jackson oozes confidence. The fake punt came in the Southern Section Division final against Chaminade, on 4th and 31 from his own 22. He called his own number.
His high school coach Scott Altenberg told Tony Ciniglio of the Gardena Daily Breeze, "He's a highlight film. On every play, that's kind of the way he is. The best thing I can say about him is that he has the absolute most joy of playing football as much as any kid."
"It's almost like it's recess in grade school and he's out there running around, having the best time. It's impossible not to smile watching him. It's so much fun."
Altenberg compares Jackson to Lee, and notes he's a good kid who was nominated by teachers as one of the religious ambassadors at the Catholic school.
Sweetpea also has Olympic potential in track. He's leaped 25 feet and 24' 10" in the long jump, 4th best in the country among high schoolers. He runs the 100 meters in 10.89, and contributed a leg on Serra's top-rated 4x100 relay team (results from athletic.net).
Rivals.com rates the highly-recruited senior as the #2 cornerback in the country and the #8 prospect overall. Last season he had 56 tackles and 5 interceptions on defense. He also caught 33 passes for 546 yards and 5 touchdowns, 7 carries for 175 yards and 5 more, plus his wizardry in the return game. Altenberg indicates Jackson will have an even bigger role in the Cavalier offense in 2013, even playing some running back.
The coach told Ciniglio, "He doesn't get a lot of action at cornerback. Teams try to avoid him," Altenberg said. "But he's so smart, he sometimes baits the quarterbacks by sitting back or acting like he's beat. The QB goes to throw, and in nanoseconds, he's right there.
"Most of his interceptions have come when he's baited the quarterback."
The Ducks face an uphill battle to land him, but they also did with Bralon Addison, Arik Armstead, and De'Anthony Thomas in previous recruiting cycles. The Serra High superstar has 12 favorites among his dazzling array of offers. USC appears to be in the lead, and this summer he took unofficial visits to Florida and Tennessee, particularly enjoying his stay in Tallahassee. He and another Southern California elite prospect, Joe Mixon from Freedom High, have become friends on the 7-on-7 and camp circuit and may be a package deal as commitments.
Jackson is a California transplant--he's from Illinois originally, so schools like the Illini and Notre Dame aren't totally out of the running for high. He's expressed only marginal interest in the Ducks.
But who knows? With a national championship season, some fresh uniforms, and a visit to The Death Star, maybe Jackson could become the next electric Duck star from Southern California. He already likes the shoes.