USC Trojans two-way star Adoree’ Jackson will forego practicing with the football team this spring and instead focus on track and field with the hope of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ESPN reported Jackson’s plans, which were formally announced by coach Clay Helton.
“I’ve always believed that if you’re going to be a master of something, you’ve got to work at it,” Helton told reporters after Sunday’s practice. “Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades, be a master of something. He’s been a master at football this season. We said, ‘If you have the opportunity to go to the Olympics, you need to go for that.'”
Jackson posted 31 tackles with a pick six this season, and also added 24 receptions for 382 yards and two touchdowns while also adding 914 yards and two touchdowns on kick and punt returns.
But Jackson is now putting the gridiron aside to follow a dream that Helton promised him when recruiting him. The young man from the Los Angeles area is an accomplished long jumper and cleared 25 feet, 11 inches at the nationals last year. Come Olympic trials in July, he’ll have to meet a minimum of 26, 5.
Jackson himself commented on the situation.
“If it was up to me, where my heart is, I would want to go out there [with the track team in the spring],” Jackson said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I’ll just see what’s best overall for me and for the team.”
“I’m going to talk to my dad,” he said, according to the Orange County Register. “But for me, I’d rather go out there in track and really try to win a national title in the long jump and try to compete for the Olympics.”
Jackson said he still plans on attending meetings with the football team this spring, but there’s no doubt how devoted he is to this dream. Star football players are a dime-a-dozen, but Olympians are something special. By qualifying to go to Rio next summer, he could certainly turn a lot of NFL scouts’ heads.
Stay tuned to Campus Sports for further updates on Jackson’s Olympic dreams!
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports