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Adoree' Jackson has a winning attitude

This well-rounded athlete at Gardena Serra puts his team before himself, just one of many qualities that make him worth watching. He's the next big thing.

July 10, 2012|Eric Sondheimer

For the next two years in Southern California high school sports, my recommendation is to go watch Adoree' Jackson of Gardena Serra.

Shake his hand. Get his autograph. Take a photo. Admire his humility and toughness.

There's no one quite like him, and when he graduates in 2014, he'll be a nationally known athlete.

Let me tell the story of what he did at the state track and field championships last month in Clovis.

He won the state championship in the long jump as a sophomore on his first jump, going 25 feet 1/2 inch. But he wanted to reach 26 feet. He had new spikes on, and on a subsequent jump, he slid off the board and "messed up" his ankle, as he tells it.

Serra was trying to overtake Sherman Oaks Notre Dame for the boys' team championship, and Jackson was supposed to run a leg in the 4x400 relay.

"I was looking at my team's face, and I knew it was on the line and we had to win the 4x400 to get first or second in state," he said. "I was jumping up and down and told my coach, 'I can run.' She said to take a couple of strides. She put me in, and I ended up running."

The team finished sixth in the relay and finished second in state. Jackson's ankle ended up being severely sprained. The ankle was put into a cast for three weeks. It forced him out of football camps at USC and UCLA this summer.

On June 30, when Serra was going unbeaten in the Bellflower passing tournament, Jackson, a cornerback, was still waiting for his ankle to heal.

He served as a smiling water boy/cheerleader, helping to set up a canopy and carry some supplies while supporting his teammates.

And he still has no regrets that his decision to run in the relay might have made his ankle injury worse.

"I felt the team needed me, and I wanted to do it for the team so we could win a state title, boys and girls," he said.

So Jackson pretty much sacrificed this summer in football for his teammates in track.

That's stunning but vintage Adoree' Jackson. He moved here from Illinois last year, and the effect he has had on and off the field continues to resonate among those who come in contact with him.

"His competitiveness is just unbelievable," football Coach Scott Altenberg said.

Combine that attitude with his magnificent all-around skills, and you have a teenager with a future like few others.

It's no wonder Altenberg compares him to Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, the former Serra standouts who are now standout receivers at USC.

USC and UCLA are among the many colleges recruiting him.

When he returns later this month to full strength, sit back and enjoy an athlete who's going to do big things on and off the field in coming years.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATSondheimer

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