Notre Dame signed an elite-level long-jumper with Chris Brown in the 2012 recruiting class and Brown has found his way on the field immediately as a freshman.
The Irish already have their eyes on another long-jumper in the Class of 2014 and his best jump as a sophomore bests anything Brown did during his high school career.
Brown’s best jump as a high-schooler was 23 feet, 9 inches. Adoree' Jackson won the California state long jump title as a sophomore with a jump of 25 feet, one-half inches.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Jackson from Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, Calif., said that jump came six inches behind the board and he already has his eyes set on breaking the national record of 26 feet, 10 inches by the time he’s done with high school.
Jackson has dreamed of being an Olympian since he picked up track as an eighth-grader, when he was living in Illinois. He’s also a standout on the gridiron and has offers from UCLA, Washington, Arizona State, Nebraska and others to prove it.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Jackson, who currently holds nine offers altogether. “It’s a humbling feeling. It’s just a blessing to have all of those offers. I just need to keep working hard to get to my goal of being one of those kids who has every school in the nation looking at you and being able to pick any school you want. It’s a really good feeling and I’m one step closer.”
The cornerback/receiver prospect is also receiving interest from schools like USC, LSU and Notre Dame. Irish head coach Brian Kelly and assistant Mike Denbrock were at his school right after the Irish’s win over USC to check on him and his teammate, 2014 linebacker Dwight Williams.
“It was amazing,” said Jackson. “It was actually crazy. When Coach told me Brian Kelly was here, I said, ‘What? Who?’ I was in shock because they just came off the big win over SC and they’re the number one team. For them to come down and visit, means a lot.”
Denbrock returned last week and left the message that they were impressed with what they’ve seen and were going to be recruiting him hard for the next year. Jackson doesn’t know much about Notre Dame other than it’s a faith-based school that currently sits atop the nation’s polls, but he was still impacted by Kelly’s stop.
“That makes me feel good, makes me feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” said Jackson. “I’m working hard, I need to keep working harder and just stay focused. It also means that I’m one of the top athletes to have the head coach of the number one team in the country come see me.”
Jackson’s abilities as a playmaker in all three phases of the game have caught the attention of college recruiters.
“As a receiver when I get the ball in my hands, I’m not going to go down after first contact,” he said. “If I’m on defense, I’m trying to make an electric play; a big hit or an interception. Another thing I think is my character on the field and off the field and being a teammate. I love my team and I’d do anything for my teammates.”
At this point, he isn’t sure what position he’ll play at the next level.
“Most of the coaches are recruiting me at defensive back, but sometimes they see me at receiver and like me at receiver too,” he said. “It all depends. Most of them want me to do either and special teams. I have no idea, but it’s a little bit of both.”
Jackson shined on offense as a youngster in Illinois, but started off on defense when he arrived at Serra last year.
“I worked my way into offense this year,” he said. “I like offense more, but I like defense as well and I like taking the ball away from the offense. I like making plays offense, so it’s going to be a tough one.”
Jackson, who still has family in Illinois, didn’t have too much trouble adjusting to his new surroundings.
“I had to prove myself a little bit more, but it was an easy transition for me because I just used my competitiveness,” he said.
It’s early, but he already has a few things on his list to check when it comes to eventually picking a college.
“It will probably be the depth chart,” he said. “I look at that a lot and see if I have an easy chance to play early. Also, the background of the school and how will I be played – offensively, defensively or if I could do both.
“And then, if I can run track because track is one of my main sports. That will also be a big factor, but also the community, fans, coaching staff and if I can see myself living there after school.”