Gardena Serra defensive back Adoree' Jackson wants to an impact with… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
To understand what Adoree' Jackson of Gardena Serra wants to accomplish, take seriously what he wrote in a tweet last spring: "I want to be unforgettable. I want to be unstoppable. I want to be unbelievable. I want to be uncontrollable. I just want to be remembered."
If any high school football player is capable of living up to high expectations, it's the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Jackson, a senior who is following in the mold of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee as Serra athletes with remarkable futures.
"It's all coaching. They've got no talent when they get here," Coach Scott Altenberg joked. "They can't walk and chew gum. We mold them."
Jackson is almost a twin of Lee, a three-sport standout at Serra who is now a receiver at USC and Heisman Trophy candidate. Jackson plays the same sports as Lee -- he's a cornerback and receiver in football, a guard in basketball and a long jumper in track.
"It's unbelievable the way he runs, the way he competes," Altenberg said of Jackson. "I saw Marqise and told him, 'This is you.' It's freaky."
When Jackson was last seen on a football field at the CIF state championship Division II bowl game at StubHub Field, he was catching touchdown passes of 50 and 27 yards in a 42-15 victory over Oakdale. He did a flip in the end zone after one of his touchdown receptions.
But his most stunning play was a 95-yard run on a fake punt on fourth and 31. He almost always has the green light to run when punting if he sees an opportunity. But Altenberg forgot to advise him not to do it in certain situations.
"The only problem was I failed to mention, 'If it's fourth and 35 on our own 15 and we're up by 42 points, do not do this,' " the coach said. "He got the ball, everyone turned their backs and he said, 'I'm gone.' I looked up. Oh man, you do have to explain everything."
Yes, there's not much Jackson isn't capable of accomplishing. He was the state champion in the long jump as a sophomore and runner-up last season. When he's in the weight room, smiling while enduring some pain, he's inspiring others to try harder.
"I try to put on a smile for the younger kids," he said. "If they see you struggling or having a sad face, they might not want to do it."
He came to Serra from Illinois as a sophomore to live with his sister. He loves the competition that Southern California offers with so many top athletes, many of whom he sees walking around a Serra campus that has produced state championship teams in football, basketball and track and field in recent years.
"The best thing about Serra is you can always get level-headed because there's somebody else as good," Jackson said.
Jackson's versatility is what helps Serra the most. When injuries happen, he's always available to fill in. He's a devastating punt returner. He's a big-play receiver. He's a lockdown cornerback -- so good that quarterbacks avoid throwing in his direction. And this season, he could play running back because of a season-ending knee injury suffered in the spring to running back Malik Roberson.
"When I first started playing football, I was a running back watching Reggie Bush at USC," he said. "I always wanted to do the things he did. I feel comfortable at running back. If I need to do it, I'll do it."
Said Altenberg: "He's an amazing kid with a great battery. He keeps going."
Despite being the focus of an all-out college recruiting battle, Jackson insists he's going to hold out until national signing day in February before revealing his college choice.
"I'm going to wait until the very end, I swear," he said.
On and off the field, Jackson figures to provide plenty of drama and excitement during the 2013 football season that begins Aug. 29.
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Defensive backs to watch
*--* PLAYER SCHOOL HT., WT. YR. ERIC SONDHEIMER'S COMMENT Koa SO Notre Dame 6-1, 200 Sr. Cal commit has speed, Farmer toughness. Naijiel St. John Bosco 5-11, 170 Sr. Arizona commit fears no one. Hale Adoree' Gardena Serra 5-10, 180 Sr. Five interceptions as a junior. Jackson Jonathan Mater Dei 5-11, 170 Sr. Washington commit makes big Lockett plays. Iman Long Beach Poly 6-2, 185 Jr. Another in long line of good Marshall Poly DBs. Joseph Chaminade 6-1, 180 Sr. UCLA commit knows how to hit. McIntosh Dante JSerra 6-1, 170 Sr. Track standout shuts down Pettis receivers. Jamal Magnolia 6-3, 190 Sr. Strong safety has size, speed. Scott Marvell Crespi 6-3, 180 Jr. A physical, powerful safety. Tell Jaleel St. John Bosco 5-11, 160 Sr. Versatile safety is committed Wadood to Cal. *--*