Gerard Martinez |

Serra wide receiver John Jackson making his own name in 2018

USC fans know the name John Jackson well, but that name now comes with a new face on the recruiting trail.

Gardena (Calif.) Serra junior wide receiver John Jackson has seen more than his fair share of Trojan football, but when his first scholarship offer came, it came surprisingly from the SEC rather than USC.

“I’ve been talking with a lot of different schools and it’s been a lot of fun,” said Jackson. “Tennessee was my first offer, and that was amazing. I couldn’t believe that would be my first offer. 

“Since then, things have kind of been blowing up. I know I’m planning on taking visits to some schools down East. Tennessee will be one of those schools… I’ve been thinking about going to Ohio State, Illinois and even Alabama — if I get lucky.”

Jackson is the son of former Trojans' wide receiver John Jackson Sr., who played for the Trojans in the 1980s. More than 30-years later, John has a chance to walk through the Coliseum tunnel as a recruiting the way his dad did as a player. 

“My grandfather coached there my dad played there… it’s just the tradition at USC. I remember way back when I was sitting on Pete Carroll’s lap. USC will always have a special spot in my heart. It’s the school I’ve grown up around.

“I’ve been to a lot of games, and Coach Tee Martin has been down at Serra to see us. I talked to him last month and he said USC is still looking at me. From that standpoint, things are pretty positive with USC right now.”

But Jackson isn’t selling himself short with one potential college option. With scholarship offers from BYU and Oregon in addition to Tennessee, he is keeping an open mind about college. 

“I do want to see what other schools have to offer,” said Jackson. “I’ve talked to different coaches and met different players from different schools, so I’m interested in what kind of spot I could fill for some these schools. 

“I think receiver is the spot I’m going to play, but I’m always willing to do whatever my teams needs me to. When I was at Mater Dei playing quarterback, Coach (Bruce) Rollinson told me to switch over to receiver and I had no problem with that. My big thing is helping the team.”

With his dad still calling USC football games as well as doing play-by-play for Fox Sports West Prep Spotlight games, Jackson is ahead of the curve when it comes to recruiting. 

“My dad has been amazing helping me with everything,” said Jackson. “This was my first year at receiver because I’ve been playing quarterback. 

“He really gave me a jump start about what I was doing right and wrong. Even when he covered my game, he told me what I did right and what I needed to look for to improve if certain situations happened again. He coaches me up every day. 

“He’s my biggest critic, but at times he is my biggest fan. That’s always been a blessing.” Top Stories