USC got early start on top Arizona football recruit Austin Jackson

USC got early start on top Arizona football recruit Austin Jackson

Gallery

USC got early start on top Arizona football recruit Austin Jackson

By

Phoenix North Canyon's Austin Jackson announces he will attend USC.

Phoenix North Canyon’s Austin Jackson announces he will attend USC.

USC started recruiting Austin Jackson when he was 2.

The Phoenix North Canyon senior offensive tackle said that is when his grandfather, Melvin Jackson, took him to his first USC sporting event.

“I guess you could say he was kind of recruiting me,” Jackson said.

Jackson, the most coveted Arizona high school football player in the 2017 class, made it official Wednesday when he signed with the Trojans, giving USC two of the state’s top recruits.

UPDATES: National Signing Day in Arizona

Austin Jackson announces he will attend USC
Phoenix North Canyon’s Austin Jackson, the state’s No. 1 recruit, announces he will attend USC, February 1, 2017, at North Canyon High School.
National Signing Day – Arizona recruits on where they will be playing college football
Arizona football recruits Andrew Nichols of Centennial High, Adam Bay of Desert Ridge High, Bryce Gilbert of Higley High, and Tyler Johnson of Highland High on where they will be playing college football next year. David Wallace/azcentral sports
Jared Poplawski discusses switch from ASU to Colorado
Saguaro High School tight end Jared Poplawski talks about attending Colorado.
Saguaro’s Wacaser, Seawards discuss UCLA
Saguaro High School defensive guard Sean Seawards and lineman Jax Wacaser talk about attending UCLA.
Chandler dominates Mountain Pointe to win the 6A state championship
Behind a powerful TJ Green, Chandler held possession, forced turnovers and picked up a redemption win over the favorites. (Patrick Breen/azcentral sports)
Williams Field holds off Centennial to win 5A title
With a fumble return and interception from Williams Field’s Tre’ Bugg, the Williams Field football team took home the state championship trophy. (Patrick Breen/azcentral sports)
Dallin Edwards leads American Leadership Academy to 3A state title
Dallin Edwards accounted for four touchdowns as American Leadership Academy beat Sabino to win the 3A Conference state title. (Jake Rill/azcentral sports)
Centennial coach Richard Taylor reacts to loss in 5A title game
Centennial coach Richard Taylor reacts to his team’s 14-6 loss to Gilbert Williams Field in the 5A state championship on Saturday, Nov. 26 2016. (Alex Caprariello/azcentral sports)
Williams Field’s Tre’ Bugg on his role in 5A championship win
Senior cornerback Tre’ Bugg played a huge role in Williams Field’s 5A state championship win on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016. (Alex Caprariello/azcentral sports)
Williams Field’s Brandon Ruiz on 5A championship win
Williams Field’s 5A state championship is especially important for Brandon Ruiz and his 2017 senior class, Nov. 26, 2016. (Alex Caprariello/azcentral sports)
Thatcher’s Layton Alder talks about his blocked punt in the 2A Conference championship
Alder’s block helped Thatcher come from behind to beat Eagar Round Valley 33-28 in the Conference 2A state championship. (Nick Snow/azcentral sports)
Saguaro QB Max Massingale on 4A state championship win
Scottsdale Saguaro QB Max Massingale on his team’s 4A state championship win against Tucson Catalina Foothills, Nov. 26, 2016. (Scott Bordow/azcentral sports)
Saguaro coach Jason Mohns talks 4A state championship
Scottsdale Saguaro coach Jason Mohns discusses 4A title win against Tucson Catalina Foothills, Nov. 26, 2016. (Scott Bordow/azcentral sports)
Saguaro celebrates 42-14 win in 4A title game
Scottsdale Saguaro players rush the field after their 42-14 win against Tucson Catalina Foothills in the 4A high school football state championship, Nov. 26, 2016. (Scott Bordow/azcentral sports)
6A title game preview: Mountain Pointe vs. Chandler
Richard Obert and Scott Bordow dissect Saturday’s 6A football championship game between Mountain Pointe and Chandler. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
HS football 5A title game preview: Centennial-Williams Field
azcentral sports high school insiders Richard Obert and Scott Bordow dissect Saturday’s 5A football championship game between Centennial and Williams Field. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
HS football 4A title game preview: Saguaro-Catalina Foothills
azcentral sports high school insiders Richard Obert and Scott Bordow dissect Saturday’s 4A football championship game between Saguaro and Catalina Foothills. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
HS football 3A title game preview: Sabino-American Leadership
azcentral sports high school insiders Richard Obert and Scott Bordow dissect Saturday’s 3A football championship game between Sabino and American Leadership Academy. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
HS football 2A title game preview: Thatcher-Round Valley
azcentral sports high school insiders Richard Obert and Scott Bordow dissect Saturday’s 2A football championship game between Thatcher and Round Valley. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
Chandler teammates TJ Green, Johnny Johnson will be college rivals
Green has committed to Oregon State and Johnson to Oregon. First they will team up to try to beat Mountain Pointe for the 6A championship
Sabino athlete Drew Dixon wants state title
Sabino’s Drew Dixon has committed to the University of Arizona as a wide receiver.
American Leadership Academy ready to make history
Football team seeks school’s first state championship.
Centennial coach discusses 5A final
Peoria Centennial coach Richard Taylor previews 5A title game against Williams Field.
Mountain Pointe coach previews 6A final
Phoenix Mountain Pointe’s Norris Vaughan discusses his team’s state title game against Chandler.
Saguaro OL Corey Stephens shocked by region POY honor
Stephens ready for 4A championship after missing first meeting with Catalina Foothills,
Andrew Carlsen talks about his TD, INT as Sabino beats Show Low
Andrew Carlsen caught a 10-yard touchdown pass and had an interception as Sabino upset top-seeded Show Low 23-21 in the 3A Conference semifinals Saturday at Gilbert Williams Field High School. Nick Snow/azcentral sports
Round Valley quarterback Brian Hill on semifinal win
Eager Round Valley quarterback Brian Hill acknowledges the help he received from his defense and special teams in his team’s 2A conference semifinal win on Saturday. (Alex Caprariello/azcentral sports)
Goal-line stand to end regulation keys Thatcher 2A semifinal win
A goal-line stand by Thatcher to end regulation was key in defeating Santa Cruz 27-26 in OT in the 2A football semifinals. (Richard Obert/azcentral sports)
Chandler reacts to semifinal rout over Perry
azcentral sports Richard Obert takes you to the big win spurred by Chandler running back T.J. Green.
Game changers emerge in Arizona high school football
Football state semifinals is when the best players emerge in Arizona high school football. (Richard Obert/azcentral sports)
Bagdad wins 1A football title
Brothers Israel and Benjamin Loveall lead Bagdad to 60-6 win over Williams on Saturday. (Richard Obert/azcentral sports)

Phoenix Mountain Pointe safety Isaiah Pola-Mao, who has family ties in the Los Angeles area, also signed with USC.

Jackson, 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, made azcentral sports’ All-Arizona team the past two seasons. Pola-Mao, 6-4, 205, was honored each of the past three years.

Both Jackson’s grandfather and uncle, by the same name, played football at USC.

“I’m really happy,” Austin Jackson said. “The recruiting process the last two years really grew. I had to question myself several times during the process.”

Jackson said that it helped to get away from home for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in early January.

That helped him find out where he wanted to be, he said.

RELATED: Arizona high school football commitments

“Just competing with some of the guys, that kind of cleared my head in San Antonio,” Jackson said. “I always knew L.A.”

Jackson said that Arizona State and Washington were in a dead heat with USC, entering January.

“I was conflicted with all three schools,” he said. “They all offered something different for me.”

Jackson, azcentral sports’ No. 1 2017 recruit, will line up at left tackle at USC. He knows it takes quite a bit of adjusting.

“But I feel like one of the things I do best is adjust,” he said. “I’m ready to step on campus and compete right away.”

Lavonna, Jackson’s mom, said that it was hard for her son to narrow it down and make a decision.

MORE: Signing day can be filled with high drama, anxiety, flips

“He was considering leaving school, staying close to home, leaving legacy, continuing legacy,” Lavonna said. “It’s a challenge.”

Jose Lucero, who coached Jackson in his final high school season, said he thinks USC is getting a prototypical left tackle.

“He’s long, he’s athletic,” Lucero said. “I think they’re getting a special kid.

“He’s a real humble kid, hard-working kid. Everybody loves Austin. He has the athleticism to do both (pass and run block). He’s getting bigger. He’s up to 280 pounds. I’m sure once he gets to USC, he’ll get bigger. He’s a physical kid. He’s a finisher. USC is getting the whole package.”

Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.

 

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports