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Joshua Jackson Jr. says importance of family spurred his decision to commit to USC

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Narbonne wide receiver Josh Jackson Jr. reaches out for a pass during a seven-on-seven tournament held at USC’s Howard Jones Field in June.
(Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

The decision was Joshua Jackson Jr.’s, but he wasn’t making it alone.

Jackson will be the one attending classes and football practices in college, but he will be carrying his family along with him. The 6-foot, 180-pound Harbor City Narbonne High receiver was deciding what university and what college football program best suited him. He also searched for a familial atmosphere where he and his family felt at home.

“Family is very important to me because they help me with everything,” Jackson said. “They help me when I’m down and when I’m out and then they help me with I’m up. They helped through this whole process really, so it was a family decision.”

The Jackson family was happy to know that Joshua won’t be going far. He announced his verbal commitment to USC last week.

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Jackson sent a tweet proclaiming his commitment while he was on USC’s campus to watch a spring practice. He didn’t come alone, bringing more than a dozen of the Jackson clan with him. Following the practice, the Jacksons turned a USC media backdrop into a photoshoot locale as the family all took turns taking photos with Joshua.

“My family was very excited when I broke the news to them,” Jackson said. “It was amazing, honestly. The way that I committed and to have my family behind me to just show how they’ve been there every step of the way with me, it was just an amazing experience.”

In USC, Jackson said he’s found another family.

Coach Clay Helton champions a “Faith Family Football” mantra that Jackson thinks he fits in with. Jackson has been visiting campus routinely since he received a scholarship offer from the Trojans’ coaching staff last spring. Hanging out with both the players and coaches, Jackson has developed a close bond. He said he also has cousins that attended USC — one that just graduated and another that is on schedule to graduate this year.

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“Between that and a bunch of people I know up there, it’s family,” Jackson said. ”I just love everything about [the environment] really. There’s no negativity there. It’s just all fun. There’s a lot of energy and I feel like it’s a very good environment for me to succeed in.”

Jackson sees himself fitting into the USC environment with ease. He already knows incumbent starting quarterback JT Daniels and has a close relationship with quarterback commit Bryce Young. He raved about new receivers coach Kerry Colbert and the knowledge Colbert has from playing in the NFL. Plus the Air Raid offense being installed by new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell seems to fit Jackson’s skill set as a receiver that can play outside or in the slot.

Jackson led Narbonne with 50 catches for 915 yards with eight touchdowns despite having to sit out the first five games because of CIF transfer rules. Narbonne was 2-3 before Jackson, running back Brionne Perry and quarterback Jake Garcia all became eligible. The Gauchos then won eight straight games before losing to San Diego Cathedral Catholic on a late field goal in the CIF Division 1-AA Southern California Regional Bowl.

Jackson is rated as a four-star prospect, ranked No. 306 overall and the No. 58 receiver in the nation, per the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Southland showdown in Florida

Jackson flipped over to defensive back over the weekend and showed his athleticism, making some big plays at defensive back to help his Premium Sports team win the Adidas seven-on-seven national championship tournament in Tampa, Fla.

Premium went all the way to Florida but faced a familiar foe in the title game, defeating Southern California rival Ground Zero. Young connected on a 40-yard touchdown pass with no time remaining on the clock and zipped a ball through traffic to complete a two-point conversion to earn the win.

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