USC watching Jackie Jones

Long Beach (Calif.) Poly junior Jackie Jones lit up the scrimmage against Servite last Friday and looks forward to upholding the tradition of Jackrabbit playmakers at wide receiver.

Long Beach Poly High School has a long, proud tradition of great wide receivers. Before there was Juju Smith, players like Kenyon Rambo, Kareem Kelly, DeSean Jackson, Terrance Austin and Sammy Parker made headlines.

Splitting out wide while wearing a Jackrabbit uniform comes with a standard. Junior wide receiver Jackie Jones started off the scrimmage against Servite last week acknowledging that standard with a 70-yard touchdown reception.

“There’s definitely a standard, and a guy like Desean Jackson, he still comes around to talk to us,” said Jones. “That’s a guy a look up to. He’s a little faster than me, but he’s my size and plays football the way I do.

“And he tells us about more than football. He talked to the whole team and told us that it’s all about staying in the books and keeping your head straight. He talked a lot about his experiences at Poly.

With Juju Smith playing wide receiver and running back for Poly last season, the offense had a gravitational point that depended on one player during crunch time. This season, the offense will have multiple threats that include Jones.

“I just want to catch every ball thrown to me and I want to lead the team in touchdowns,” said Jones.

If Jones played like he did in the scrimmage, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so.

“Coach always talks to me about blowing the top off the defense,” said Jones. “Once I saw that both safeties were on the hashes, I knew I could get up the seam and get open.”

Scholarship offers and scoring touchdowns go hand-in-hand at Poly. While Jones hasn’t received a lot of contact from college coaches, he got plenty of looks last May, which led to reported scholarship offers from Boise State, San Jose State and UCLA.

Besides those three, he claims interest from another school.

“A bunch of schools came by, but the only one I know on me for sure is USC,” said Jones. “They said they would be watching me and talked to my coaches after the spring game.

“I went up to one of their camps this summer, so that’s the only time I really got to talk to them (personally). I can say for sure they are recruiting me, but I only spoke to the coaches briefly, so I can’t say how much they like me or anything.

“I was there just trying to impress them to earn a scholarship, but there were a lot of guys trying to do that.”

Jones had no childhood favorite college teams growing up as he stuck to watching NFL games on television.

“College is exciting,” said Jones, “but I don’t know more about any one school. For me, the most important thing is education. I want to know what a college can do for me after football because football doesn’t work out for everyone.

“You can have injuries, the coach doesn’t like you… all kinds of things happen really, so I want to go to a school where I have a future ahead of me if football doesn’t work out.”

One school Jones does hope to have interest from in the future is LSU. Although Jones didn’t have any childhood favorites growing up, he has seen and read about the Tigers' development of some very good defensive backs in recent years.

“I really like the defensive back position and LSU puts a lot of DBs in the NFL,” said Jones. “Morris Claiborne, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu… guys like that who are very talented.

“I’d like to get that offer and see what LSU is like. My dad and I talked about it and he said it’s all about what’s best for me. He doesn’t care if it’s close to home or far away, he just wants me to make the best decision I can in choosing a school.”

But that raises the question about which position Jones will play in college. He currently plays wide out and safety for the Jackrabbits.

“I don’t know for sure,” said Jones with a long pause. “They’re both fun and I’d like to play both in college, but I know that’s hard to do and pretty rare.

“By my senior year I should know which position I like more.”

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