I’m not sure what it is about Fridays that seem to direct me to the high profile recruits, but as we head into the weekend the ISD Film Room is excited to welcome Adoree’ Jackson from Gardena, Calif. A tremendous athlete and even better football player, the 2014 prospect is being recruited by Notre Dame as an athlete while many others are looking at him at cornerback. Jackson has earned a consensus five-star rating from Scout, Rivals, and 24/7 Sports. He’s also ranked the #8 overall recruit in the country by Rivals and the #2 and #3 ranked cornerback by Scout and 24/7 Sports, respectively.
Jackson has an impressive total of 23 scholarship offers from some of the biggest names in college football including Florida, LSU, Oregon, Texas A&M, and USC. He has been fairly neutral with whom he favors and really hasn’t tipped his cap toward any of the programs who are battling for his services. There is reason to believe that he will be in South Bend this summer though when he travels to Illinois to visit relatives.
Good things come in small packages, so don’t be fooled by Jackson’s size at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds. He plays bigger than that on the field and has plenty of talent to make up for what he lacks in girth. He’s not undersized by any stretch of the imagination, but he’ll only help his durability and physicality by gaining another 10 or so pounds of muscle. If he gets touches at multiple positions he’ll take hits in multiple ways, so another “layer of armor”, as Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly likes to say, would definitely help keep him healthy.
The Serra High School standout would benefit more from the aforementioned weight gain than he would an increase in height. With his style of play and as athletic and shifty as he is, it’s not holding him back in any way that he’s under 6-feet tall.
Let me start this one off by saying Jackson has a legitimate shot at being a future Olympian in the long jump. He had the fourth highest long jump in the country amongst high schoolers as a sophomore. I don’t know much about a lot of things, but I do know that being a successful long jumper requires two things – speed and explosiveness. His 40-yard dash time is consistently in the low 4.4’s and there’s no doubt that transfers to the football field. He runs away from people with a gear that nobody else he faces can come close to.
His explosiveness is most noticeable after he makes a move on a defender and breaks into a full sprint. He can make a sharp cut, spin, and the moment he sees daylight the hammer drops and he’s full speed in an instant. His ability to explode up the field after eluding would-be tackler is really impressive. This is the difference between getting tackled at the 5-yard line or scoring a touchdown. There are many players who can run a 4.4 40-yard dash, but it takes them 20 yards to get to their top speed. With Jackson, he seems to get to his top speed at about 10 yards.
I touched on Jackson’s agility before, but his balance is really good when he’s carrying the ball. It’s not unusual to see him spin a couple of times to evade would-be tacklers before cutting and breaking into the open field. He’s light on his feet and quick in tight spaces as well. When he cuts in either direction it’s quick and there’s no slowing down – it looks the same as when he’s running straight ahead. Which is, again, all a result of his overall explosiveness as player.
One of the things I really liked about him was his willingness to get dirty and play physical. A lot of that has to do with his strength, which I would bet gets lost in the shuffle with everything else he’s good at. Whether at cornerback or on offense he plays tough and isn’t afraid to fight through tackles or stick his nose in a ball carriers chest. There was one film clip of him carrying the ball and defenders were jumping on his back while he was running. Not only did he not get tackled, but he broke loose for a big offensive play.
Jackson’s skills and technique have so much to do with his speed and athleticism that there aren’t too many things he can’t accomplish on the football field. Colleges that are recruiting him at cornerback are selling this kid short, as he has the playmaking ability to score every time he touches the ball. As a receiver he can make the defense pay with screens, deep routes, and underneath crossing routes. Anything that gets the ball in his hands while he’s moving forward with a little bit of space in front of him is an opportunity for six points.
He’s effective as a running back with the outside zone or as a slot receiver running the jet sweep. Once he gets to the edge his speed takes over, but so does his vision. He has the ability to pick a path clear across the teeth of the defense and get himself into a clearing.
No surprise here, but Jackson is a tremendous special teams player as a kick or punt returner. This is a nightmare for opposing coaches when he has that much space to unleash that much speed and athleticism. If he makes the first man miss and picks up a block or two on punt return he’s a threat to score. On kickoff returns he’s even more dangerous because he has 20 or 30 yards to scope out his route and work his way up to full speed. He doesn’t even need blocking in this situation with the way cuts and spins his way through defenders while running like a deer.
If there’s one negative I see with him it’s his ball security. He has to do a better job of tucking the ball away and not leaving it vulnerable to being knocked out of his hands. There were several clips of the ball so far away from his body I was shocked it wasn’t jarred loose.
I think it’s pretty clear that Jackson is a special player. He has game changing talent with his speed, explosiveness, agility, and toughness. I like him as a triple threat for the Irish playing slot receiver, running back, and kick returner. It’s obviously no far stretch to imagine him filling in at cornerback if the need arose. He’s would be a huge get for Notre Dame and if he does end up visiting this summer I would do everything in my power to impress the living heck out of him.
Size: 80 (needs to gain muscle, but not a concern)
Strength: 80 (more than he gets credit for – plays bigger than he is)
Speed: 90 (acceleration to top speed is unreal)
Athletic Skills: 95 (explosive, quick, agile, great balance)
Technique: 90 (enables him to excel at multiple positions)
Versatility: 95 (receiver? running back? returner? cornerback? yes, yes, yes, and yes)
Upside: 5 (he will do something for somebody as a true freshman)
Overall Grade: 5
90-100 – Elite/Exceptional: Skill set is rare and gives prospect ability to dominate
80-89 – Very Good/Outstanding: Skill set is a significant strength
70-79 – Average: Skill set is solid, not a significant weakness
60-69 – Below Average: Skill set is not a strength for this player and could become a liability
50-59 – Very Poor: Prospect does not possess this trait and it is a definite liability
OVERALL/UPSIDE GRADE KEY
5 – Elite: Player is one of the best players at his position nationally, potentially dominant
4 – Very Good/Outstanding: Player is a potential standout and starter, could also play early
3 – Solid: Player is a potential contributor, could eventually start down the road
2 – Below Average: Player does not possess the talent to be a significant contributor
1 – Poor: Let’s be honest, Notre Dame is not going to bring in anyone with a one!