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September 29, 2013Five-star athlete Adoree' Jackson had quite the game in his final non-conference performance for Serra Friday, but that's not what everyone wanted to talk to him about Sunday.
With his phone erupting with text messages and tweets, Jackson was fielding calls about another team.
The USC Trojans fired head coach Lane Kiffin after the Trojans were hammered by the Arizona State Sun Devil. Jackson didn't watch the game, but he found out about Kiffin just hours after the final whistle blew in Tempe (Ariz.).
"I found out this morning," he said. "I don't really remember how I think it was an alert on my phone, I think it was from Twitter saying that Kiffin was fired. I kept checking to see if it was just a fan talking but then I found out it was true."
Right now, he's curious to see how the Trojans respond to some more adversity.
"It's about seeing how the team comes back because they still have to play and perform with the situation at hand," Jackson said. "When things are good or bad, you still have to play. When they hire a coach, I'll meet with him and see what his plans are and if I can build a relationship and trust with him. I'll just keep my eye on them and see how they're doing."
That doesn't mean USC needs to go on a big run to sign him. He's more concerned about having a coach he relates to.
"For me it really doesn't matter what type of coach he is, how his game plan is or how he performs, it's about the trust," Jackson said. "I sat down and talked to coach Kiffin and I have a good relationship with him. Now I have to build some new relationships at USC."
The challenge will be building those relationships in such a short time.
"I haven't really thought about if I can build a relationship or if it's a possibility," Jackson said. "But I'll get to know the new coaches and maybe after some time goes by, I'll be able to make my decision."
Before there's a new coach and way before Jackson makes a decision, he'll take a trip up the 110 freeway to check in with the coaches and players he currently has a relationship with at USC.
"I think I'm just going to go up there soon and talk to the coaching staff," he said. "I just want to see what's going on, hear about what went down and how they're taking it. I also want to talk to the team a little and then I want to see how they're going to come out and perform."
The five-star athlete performed well Friday, carrying the ball eight times for 78 yards and a touchdown; adding three catches and returned an interception 102 yards for a score his Serra Cavaliers crushed Narbonne 36-13.
Things seemed to change after Jackson improvised in the second quarter and faked a punt, which led to a 52-yard rush and some momentum.
"I want the team to look at me as that spark and that's what I am, the spark to the fire," Jackson said. "Once I get going, my team will get going and we'l keep the game going. Once we get that momentum going, it's hard to stop us."
He had a great performance in front of UCLA head coach Jim Mora, who stood on the Serra sideline. Oklahoma, Oregon and Cal are a few other teams that have made in person appearances but that special attention isn't something that Jackson pays attention too.
"If they come, they come," Jackson said. "It's good for our program and my teammates because if they come to see me or some other players, they'll see our whole team and how good we work. That's what I like about the coaches coming, not for the individual players but so they see our team and how we play. I don't pay attention to it but I just make plays and have fun. That's what I tell my teammates. Don't worry about the sidelines, just make plays and have fun."
Jackson's past the point of being influenced by college coaches showing up for games. He has a shorter list of schools that he feels strongly about and not much will change that.
"A lot of schools at the top of my list I feel like could be the best situation for me," Jackson said. "Now I just have to figure out who I trust and who I feel like is being honest with me."
The five-star athlete doesn't have to worry about whether Lane Kiffin is someone to trust anymore.
But despite all of the negativity that's currently around the USC football program, the Trojans still remain in the race for the state's number one player.
"They still have a good chance anyway. Of course it's sad and a bit of a shocker but I still have to meet with the new coaches and see what their style is, game plan and build that trust. I don't think it really hurts, everything happens for a reason. It's a business decision for them. They're trying to get back to the way they're used to playing so we'll see if the team can get back together and finish strong."
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