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May 5, 2012
Fantasy is now reality for Jackson
Class of 2014 cornerback Adoree' Jackson has gone through the recruiting process dozens of times.
He knows what to look for in schools. He talks with his parents about his choices, too. He's even committed a number of times to some major programs.
Of course, he has done all of this on EA Sports NCAA Football video games in the "Road to Glory" mode.
"It is wild," Jackson said. "I have been creating myself and playing in big games and doing all of that stuff for as long as I can remember and now I actually have offers so I can do it for real."
The 5-foot-10, 172-pound player from Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra did not tip his hand as to which schools are the most frequent to land his commitment on the video game, but as his opportunities increase the selections in real life will only become more difficult.
As one of only 20 members in his class to be invited to the inaugural event, his trip to Atlanta from June 22-24 to take part in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge is another stop on his personal Road to Glory.
It is also a surprising stop as Jackson said that he didn't really want to play football as recently as his freshman year in high school.
Then, while attending Belleville (Ill.) East, Jackson was a standout on the track team. He excelled in the long jump and said that the sport was his identity and his future plan.
"Everyone knew me at that school because I was on the track team," he said. "I had goals of getting to the Olympics."
The qualifying standard for the Olympics in 2012 was 26 feet, 10 inches.
In eighth grade he was clearing 21 feet, 11 inches. As a freshman he was over 23 feet, 11 inches. This season, just a sophomore, Jackson landed a 24-foot, 6-inch jump.
He didn't play football until there were just three games left in his freshman year and he had mixed feelings about the experience.
"I guess it was okay," he said. "I was good at it so I decided I would go back out for it."
It was upon his arrival at Junipero Serra, and following a position switch, that his game took off.
"They play a different style of ball out here," Jackson said. "I was playing running back and could do a lot but when I moved to corner and got my first offer from SMU it made me keep working on football.
"I feel like I am hungry for it now, like I am going to keep working and keep pushing myself to be as good as I can be at football."
It is his hunger to get better that will bring him to the invitation-only Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.
It is his parents that will keep him humble as the process accelerates.
"They are proud of me and tell me all the time," he said. "My mom, dad, my brothers, we are all raised to be proper, well-spoken, and level headed.
"They are happy that football is keeping me off the streets and giving me a chance to better myself. I know God gave these gifts to me and can take them away so I don't want to waste them or take them for granted."
Mike Farrell's take
Serra is known for superstar wide receivers in high school such as George Farmer, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee but Jackson could be ranked just as high in the 2014 class as a cornerback. Farmer and Woods were five stars and Lee clearly should have been so can Jackson continue the tradition? He has impressive footwork, he is explosive to the ball and he is a terrific leaper so he has everything you need to be a shutdown guy except a little more size and strength. As a sophomore, how will he handle some of these huge receivers? That's the question.