USC will lose one draft eligible player to the NFL this coming spring. Trojans left tackle Austin Jackson announce on Instagram that he will forego his senior season to enter the upcoming NFL Draft Wednesday afternoon.
Jackson’s draft grade was enough for him to make the decision to declare for April’s draft. Many mock drafts and scouts have him graded as a first or second round pick. Jackson did have some questionable performances which included a rough Holiday Bowl performance against Iowa’s A.J. Espenesa, however he has also been one of USC’s most consistent performers this past season.
Coming out of Pheonix, Arizona, Jackson committed to USC is a part of the 2017 recruiting class. He was rated as a 5 start tackle and ranked as the No. 21 overall prospect during that time. Since coming to the Trojans football program Jackson has started in 25 consecutive games during his career. His freshman season Jackson contributed in all 14 games as USC made their run towards a Pac-12 Championship.
USC will now have to replace both of their starting tackles with Drew Richmond graduating and Jackson declaring for the draft. As of right now USC has no clear replacement for both of their tackle positions. Jalen McKenzie will most likely slide back to tackle like he did for some parts of this season. If McKenzie stays at guard then Jason Rodriguez could potentially fill in at one of the tackle spots. The Trojans also brought in 6 offensive linemen in this years recruiting class that could also potentially compete for starting positions.
With Jackson making his decision, USC now await the decisions of four more draft eligible players in wide receiver Tyler Vaughns, offensive guard AlijahVera-Tucker, defensive tackle Jay Tufele, and running back Stephen Carr.