USC’s Adoree’ Jackson gets lots of props for big defensive play

USC cornerback Adoree' Jackson, second from left, is greeted by teammates after returning an interception 46 yards for a touchdown against California.

USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, second from left, is greeted by teammates after returning an interception 46 yards for a touchdown against California.

(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Adoree’ Jackson apparently was not the only one waiting for his first interception at USC.

The sophomore cornerback’s interception return for a touchdown against California incited a wave of congratulatory messages and well wishes from friends and family.

“My mom doesn’t really watch football, so for her to watch me is the best feeling ever,” he said Wednesday after practice. “Everybody else was hitting me up and telling me that it was awesome and ‘you can see how hungry you were.’

“It was just a great feeling to have everyone showing support.”

After playing nearly exclusively at receiver against Utah, Jackson started on defense in the Trojans’ victory at Cal.


He is expected to again play mainly on defense against Arizona on Saturday night at the Coliseum.

Arizona is coming off a 49-3 loss at Washington. Wildcats quarterback Anu Solomon entered the Washington game without having a pass intercepted in the first seven games but had two picked off in the loss at Seattle.

Against Cal, Jackson got a huge assist from safety Chris Hawkins, who took out three Golden Bears players during Jackson’s 46-yard return to the end zone.

Hawkins said he initially thought the pass thrown by quarterback Jared Goff was going to hit the ground. Then he saw Jackson make the play.

“He was running [to his right] at first and then I saw him come back and I was like, ‘Come on.’ ”

Hawkins cleared out Goff and two other players.

“He’s my escort to get to the end zone,” Jackson said.

“Kind of like Superman,” Hawkins said, jokingly. “[Jackson] thanked me for it afterward.”

Jackson and Kevon Seymour’s interceptions came a week after the Trojans intercepted four passes against Utah.

Several of the turnovers, including both interceptions against Cal, were caused in part by pressure from the front seven.

Linebacker Anthony Sarao and linemen Delvon Simmons and Greg Townsend Jr. “affected the quarterback” on Jackson’s interception, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said.

Linebacker Scott Felix pushed a lineman into Goff on Seymour’s play.

“It all works together,” Wilcox said.

Role is not cast

A day after undergoing surgery on a fractured bone in his right hand, receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster wore a heavy cast at practice. He did not try to catch passes.

Smith-Schuster is expected to be fitted with a soft cast Thursday, but he remains doubtful for Saturday’s game.


Teammates were not surprised he was practicing.

“He’s one of the hardest-working kids I know, one of the toughest kids I know,” Hawkins said.

Jackson anticipates Smith-Schuster will play.

“With his energy, his emotion, his personality,” Jackson said, “I don’t think it will hold him out.”

Interim Coach Clay Helton reiterated that if Smith-Schuster were a lineman, he would probably “club it up” and be able to play.

“You have to plan for him not to be there,” Helton said, adding, “but ... I consider him Superman, so it wouldn’t shock me if all of a sudden Thursday or Friday he says ‘Coach, I’m ready.’… If he’s ready, he’s ready. If he’s not, we’ll save him for the next game.”

Quick hits

Offensive tackle Zach Banner was absent from practice because his grandfather died this week, and Banner spent Wednesday with his family, Helton said. Freshman Chuma Edoga worked with the first-team offense in Banner’s spot at right tackle. ... Receiver Steven Mitchell Jr., who has been sidelined or slowed because of an ankle injury the last three games, participated in all drills during practice.