It is not every day that you see a college football cornerback scoring a touchdown hat-trick. To pull off the feat in a rivalry game just makes it all the more special and fulfilling. Adoree' Jackson of USC is no ordinary cornerback, so when he went off for three touchdowns against Notre Dame, maybe we shouldn't have been that shocked after all.
MORE: Ohio State Defeats Michigan in a Thriller: College Football Highlights
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Jackson's three-touchdown performance was that each came in a different way (and not one of them was a defensive score). Jackson is a draft eligible junior and even before this showcase of his talents, he was widely expected to be one of the first names taken off of the board if (when) he declares for the NFL Draft. Some team playing on Sundays is going to get an insanely talented special teams return man, regardless of how Jackson pans out as a defensive back in the league.
His first touchdown on Saturday was a 55-yard punt return with the Trojans up by three points in the second quarter. Jackson fielded the ball on one hop (something more players should do) and after a stutter step to freeze the defenders he blasted right up the middle of the field where the Notre Dame coverage would theoretically be at its strongest. The blocking on this play was ok, but Jackson found a crease, turned on the afterburners, and made it work.
His second touchdown came on a pass reception after he checked into the game as a running back in the third quarter. It was nothing more than a short swing pass where the ball traveled laterally maybe five yards through the air. Jackson caught it and took to the house, tiptoeing down the sideline. This touchdown was another where his blazing speed was on show, but major kudos to the USC receivers who set him loose with a couple of outstanding downfield blocks.
The final touchdown was the best highlight reel play. After Notre Dame scored to make it a 10 point game with a minute left in the fourth quarter they made the mistake of kicking off to Jackson. On this 97-yard return, Jackson showed both speed and elusiveness, including a moment where he looked dead set to be tackled until he hurdled the kicker on the midfield stripe.
Jackson is a class act and this was a fitting way for what might have been his final home game as a Trojan to play out.
Check out more videos like this on the CampusInsiders YouTube Channel