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USC's Adoree' Jackson could see even more action against Stanford

USCSportsFootballSteve SarkisianUSC TrojansStanford CardinalPacific-12 Conference
Freshman Adoree' Jackson played on offense, defense and special teams in USC's opener against Fresno State.
Trojans Coach Steve Sarkisian says Jackson could play more against Stanford. “We're more excited about t

Adoree' Jackson is probably going to become busier.

USC's multitalented freshman contributed on offense, defense and special teams in the Trojans' 52-13 season-opening victory over Fresno State.

And his role could become larger, especially on offense, Coach Steve Sarkisian said Sunday.

"We're pleased with the first game," Sarkisian, during a teleconference with reporters, said when asked about Jackson. "But I think we're more excited about the future."

Jackson was in for 13 plays on offense, 25 on defense and 14 on special teams.

Jackson caught three passes, including an impressive no-fear catch over the middle on the Trojans' first scoring drive. He also had an 18-yard touchdown catch. Sarkisian said Jackson also was instrumental in clearing space for other receivers to make third-down catches.

Jackson did a solid job at cornerback and returned a punt 10 yards.

Afterward, Jackson said he went into the game not knowing how much he would play.

"They just told me I was going in the second play of the game," he said.

Jackson could be on the field even more Saturday when the Trojans play their Pac-12 Conference opener at Stanford.

Sarkisian said "I'd like to see his role increased more," on offense and defense.

"I think he can handle it," Sarkisian said. "He showed he can handle doing all three phases."

Tight spot

USC was counting on freshman tight end Bryce Dixon to play a role this season.

When junior Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick was ruled academically ineligible on the eve of training camp, senior Randall Telfer and Dixon were left as the only two scholarship tight ends on the roster. The Trojans also were relying on senior walk-on Chris Willson.

But Willson suffered a broken foot Saturday.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Dixon showed against Fresno State that he is capable of carrying a heavier load.

His first USC reception resulted in a 22-yard touchdown. Dixon even hopped over a barrier behind the end zone after making the catch.

During training camp, Sarkisian said that fullbacks Soma Vainuku and Jahleel Pinner could help offset the dearth of tight ends. He said Sunday that walk-on Teddy Baker, a 6-4, 265-pound senior, could help at the spot.

But the search for other players to possibly move to the spot will continue this week.

"We like two tight-end sets," Sarkisian said. "We'll see if there are guys who can play."

Fresno fan

Quarterback Cody Kessler probably wouldn't mind playing Fresno State every game.

In two games against the Bulldogs, Kessler has passed for 739 yards and eight touchdowns, with one interception.

Kessler passed for a career-best 394 yards and four touchdowns Saturday.

Sitting out

In the previous two weeks, offensive lineman Aundrey Walker appeared recovered from off-season ankle surgery and was making a push toward playing time.

But the senior, who has started 18 games at guard and tackle, did not play against Fresno State.

"Quite honestly, he just didn't feel like he was ready to play," Sarkisian said. "So we didn't put him in."

Quick hits

Freshman Ajene Harris, listed as a starting receiver on the depth chart Sarkisian released last week, played sparingly on offense and had one reception for eight yards. Sarkisian said the decision to play Nelson Agholor as a slot receiver, JuJu Smith's performance during practice and Jackson's play affected Harris' playing time. ... The Trojans do not practice Monday. They resume practice Tuesday.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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USCSportsFootballSteve SarkisianUSC TrojansStanford CardinalPacific-12 Conference
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