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Adoree' Jackson Named Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year

Action Jackson did it in all three fazes, but was recognized for his lockdown corner abilities.

Adoree' Jackson makes his first career touchdown catch.
Adoree' Jackson makes his first career touchdown catch.
Shotgun Spratling/Conquest Chronicles

Adoree' Jackson was one of the top recruits in the nation for a reason. The five-star athlete capable of playing offense, defense and special teams did just that for the Trojans this season. For his efforts, the freshman from Serra HS was named the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian utilized Jackson in all three facets of the game, but where he really excelled and stood out was on the defensive side of the ball, playing man-to-man defense and locking down opposing teams' top receiving threat.

Following the preseason suspension of Josh Shaw, USC was down to one cornerback with any semblance of experience. While Kevon Seymour played well, it was Adoree' Jackson that really shined. He overtook redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins for the starting cornerback job less than a month into the season and never looked back. Jackson helped USC finish with the Pac-12's second-ranked defense and was a big part of the Trojans being the second-best in the Pac-12 in stymieing opposing quarterbacks' passing efficiency rating.

Jackson ended the season with 42 tackles and showed his tackling ability in open space with 38 of those being of the solo variety. He also had four tackles for loss, nine breakups and nine passes defended. On offense, the Belleville, Ilinois native had one carry for five yards and caught seven passes for 65 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass in the season opener against Fresno State and a 16-yard score in the regular season finale versus rival Notre Dame.

In the return game, Adoree' Jackson was nationally ranked with his 27.7-yard kickoff return average -- fourth-best in the country. He even returned a kick 107 yards (officially 100 yards) for a touchdown against Utah in a game that he also caused and recovered a fumble on the goal line to stop a drive by the Utes. That game earned him the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week award.

Following in the footsteps of other Trojans that have gone on to NFL careers or will be playing on Sundays soon enough, Jackson is the third USC Trojan to be named Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in the last four seasons. Dion Bailey won the award in 2011 and Big Leonard Williams took it home in 2012.

Oregon running back Royce Freeman was named Offensive Freshman of the Year while Arizona's Rich Rodriguez took Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Arizona's Scooby Wright III, who both tied USC quarterback Cody Kessler with three Pac-12 Player of the Week honors this year, were named the conference's Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year.