Charles Woodson is the only player to win the Thorpe Award as college football’s top defensive back and the Heisman Trophy as the sport’s most outstanding player.
USC’s Adoree’ Jackson intends to become the second player to achieve the feat.
Jackson, a sophomore who starts at cornerback and also returns kicks and plays receiver, said Thursday that he wants to win both awards.
Safety Mark Carrier in 1989 became USC’s only Thorpe winner. Tailbacks Mike Garrett in 1965, O.J. Simpson (1968), Charles White (1979) and Marcus Allen (1981), quarterbacks Carson Palmer (2002) and Matt Leinart (2004) and tailback Reggie Bush (2005) won Heismans.
Jackson cited Woodson, who played cornerback and receiver at Michigan and won both awards in 1987, as proof that someone other than an offensive player could win the Heisman.
Jackson said he told USC coaches of his desire to win both awards before he arrived last summer from Gardena Serra High.
“They put me in situations in how I can win it,” he said after playing receiver the entire practice. “I just have to do the things that God has blessed me with to do them and stay focused.”
Jackson, a Freshman All-American and the Pac-12 Conference defensive freshman of the year, capped the 2014 season by scoring on a kickoff return and pass reception in the Trojans’ Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska.
Asked whether he had ever placekicked or punted, Jackson said he placekicked in Pop Warner football and as a high school freshman in Illinois. He punted at Serra.
“I feel like I could do it all,” he said.
Jackson did not give a timetable for when he expects to win the awards.
“Just be patient and wait your turn and good things will happen for you,” he said.
Jackson was a spectator at USC’s Pro Day workout Wednesday.
He was especially happy for former receiver George Farmer, who opted to pass up his final year of eligibility and turn pro. Farmer ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds.
“Just seeing him come out with the mind-set that he wanted to prove everybody wrong and everybody who doubted him coming out,” Jackson said. “That was pretty exciting for me.”
Cornerback Kevon Seymour, the most experienced player in the Trojans secondary, is taking on a leadership role this spring.
“I try to put it out all on the field, lead by example,” he said. “But when it’s time to do the talking I’ll talk.”
The 6-foot, 185-pound Seymour is preparing for his third season as a starter. He had one interception and deflected a team-leading 13 passes last season.
Seymour said he was concentrating on “being more of a technician.”
“I haven’t seen nearly as many balls getting completed in front of him, which means he’s playing a more aggressive style,” Coach Steve Sarkisian said.
The Trojans will practice Saturday at the Coliseum. Sarkisian said it would be a regular practice with some scrimmaging. The workout is closed to the public. The Trojans will be off the following week for spring break… Tight end Bryce Dixon remained absent for what Sarkisian has described as a student-conduct issue. Sarkisian did not provide an update on Dixon’s status.