USC's Adoree Jackson expects to add punt returner to his list of duties

USC's Adoree Jackson expects to add punt returner to his list of duties
USC kick returner Adoree Jackson leaps over Colorado defender Ryan Moeller as he runs back the opening kick at the Coliseum during a game on Oct. 18. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Adoree' Jackson might take on yet another role for USC.

Last season as a freshman, Jackson only dabbled in punt returns, getting one opportunity in the opener against Fresno State and another against Colorado.


Jackson, a starting cornerback who also plays receiver and returns kickoffs, said Thursday he expects to return kickoffs and punts this season.

USC must replace Nelson Agholor, who returned four punts for touchdowns in his career, including two in 2014.

Jackson spent about 15 minutes after practice catching footballs shot high from a machine.

Afterward, he said he liked returning punts more than kickoffs.

"Make the first guy miss," he said, "and then it's open field from there on out."

Jackson is expected to participate in all phases Saturday when USC plays its spring game at the Coliseum.

"I want to give him a shot on both sides — be fair to him and fair to the fans," Coach Steve Sarkisian said, adding, "How much he plays is the question we have to figure out."

The last time USC fans saw Jackson, he returned a kickoff for a touchdown and scored on a catch-and-run play in the Holiday Bowl against Nebraska.

"I'm eager to go out there and perform, especially for the crowd and for my teammates," Jackson said. "It's a great opportunity for us to go out there, put on a show and see what's in store for us this year."

Jackson and receiver Steven Mitchell are among the players expected to receive punt-return opportunities.

Sarkisian has cautioned about overburdening Jackson.

"Part of the process is going to be: How much can he handle?" Sarkisian said.

Guest appearance

Former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez attended practice and visited with players, administrators and fans.


Sanchez's final game for the Trojans was the 2009 Rose Bowl victory over Penn State. It also was Sarkisian's final game as a USC assistant before leaving to become Washington's coach.

Sanchez, who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, and USC quarterback Cody Kessler share more than wearing No. 6 for the Trojans, Sarkisian said.

"A little similar release, a little similar kind of fire," he said. "Both kind of gym-rat mentalities."

They also apparently share a similar sense of humor.

"They were making a lot of fun of me," Sarkisian said.

Quick hits

The competition between Matt Boermeester and walk-on Alex Wood to handle field-goal attempts and extra points will continue into fall. "We have a long way to go," Sarkisian said, adding, "We're not making any hard-and-fast decision right now."…. Of incoming freshman Iman Marshall, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said coaches would "start him out" playing cornerback…. The spring game begins at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10. South gates open at 2 p.m. Parking is $15 in Coliseum Lots 2, 4, 5 and 6. Parking gates open at noon. Tailgating is permitted…. A set of USC football trading cards will be distributed to the first 5,000 fans in the stadium. Posters will be available at the conclusion of the game. Players and Sarkisian will sign autographs on the field 30 minutes after the game, which will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

Twitter: @latimesklein