The Men of Troy are back and SC football fans couldn’t be happier. On Saturday, August 8, the Trojans completed its first practice of fall training camp with 105 players participating in drills and light scrimmages at the newly renovated Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones practice field.
This is the first season without NCAA-levied sanctions and scholarship restrictions and the expectations are high. The Trojans are ranked 10th in the national coaches’ poll and were picked to win the PAC – 12 Conference in a recent media poll. Head coach Steve Sarkisian in his second season as head coach said, “this practice felt different because of the “quality of the depth of players.”
In February 2015, Sarkisian and staff signed their first full recruiting class as thousands breathed a collective sigh of relief. The recruits are here and for the next month of practice their skills sets will be on public display. Sarkisian noted “this is probably one of the best USC practices since he’s been the head coach. He attributed the practice to “players knowing the guy behind them could take their job or make them look bad.”
Returning on both sides of the ball and track is the smiling, and always-joyous Adoree Jackson. Speaking with the media at the end of practice, Jackson said he was “ready to get out there and play.” When asked about his dreams of competing in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Jackson reiterated his desire to skip spring practice next year so he can focus on the long jump. He laughed as said he “wasn’t sure how Coach Sarkisian would feel about those plans.” “Right now Coach Sarkisian plans to let Jackson spend the first 11 practices on defense to ensure that he learns his defensive assignment before having him move over to offense.
The Sentinel spent additional time with Jackson and discovered that he loves to watch the Cooking Network in his spare time and considers himself a budding chef. “I can cook pretty much anything but my best meal is cooking chicken breasts and any breakfast food.” Jackson also professed his love of cartoons and yes, “Drake still reigns as his favorite artist.”
When asked if he considers himself a team leader, Jackson responded with a quick yes, recalling how former players welcomed and mentored him. “I’m trying to do that for the freshmen players…joking with them, keeping their spirits light, building their confidence.” Jackson pointed out that he is “pretty much a positive person” a trait he says he proudly gets from his Mom. “My mom is always kind, cordial, and friendly, and I try to pattern myself after her.”
As Jackson and company left the Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones practice field, the expectations for the Men of Troy were explicit in the postings on the surrounding fence of what it means to play for USC: 11 National Championships, 36 Conference Championships, 24 Rose Bowl Victories, 6 Heisman Trophy Winners, 163 All Americans and 12 NFL Hall of Famers.
For a listing of the USC practice schedule, log onto www.usctrojans.com