Domani Jackson picks USC over Alabama, giving Lincoln Riley a major recruiting coup

Mater Dei's Domani Jackson (3) poses on the field during a game with the football under his arm
Mater Dei’s Domani Jackson (3) had once leaned toward Alabama but decided to stay home when Lincoln Riley kept Donte Williams.
(Jerome Miron / For The Times)

The top college football prospect in California is signing with USC, giving new coach Lincoln Riley his most significant victory yet on the recruiting trail.

Santa Ana Mater Dei cornerback Domani Jackson announced he would be signing with USC on Friday, choosing the Trojans over Alabama. The five-star recruit had previously committed to USC but reopened his recruitment last fall amid instability in the program.

After a years-long exodus of top Southern California prospects out of the state, Jackson’s signing marks the second consecutive year in which USC will have inked the top player in the state. Last season, top overall recruit Korey Foreman chose USC, joining a class that wound up ranked seventh in the nation.


New Trojans coach Lincoln Riley acknowledged that a seven-player class so far is smaller than usual but added, ‘We’ll get the right pieces, trust me.’

Dec. 17, 2021

The arrival of Jackson should help boost a recruiting class that started slowly in the early signing period. With just two weeks to build his first class, Riley had signed just six players before Jackson opted in Friday. But among that small group is a Mater Dei teammate of Jackson’s, five-star running back Raleek Brown, while another top Mater Dei prospect, four-star wideout C.J. Williams, is also considering USC.

Jackson, who’s ranked seventh overall in the 2022 class per 247 Sports, is expected to be the gem of that group. USC interim coach Donte Williams, who has since been retained on Riley’s new staff, had been Jackson’s primary recruiter, and if it weren’t for his retention, Jackson told 247 Sports, he would’ve gone elsewhere.

“Honestly, if Donte wasn’t coming back, I would be going to ‘Bama,” Jackson said. “That’s my guy. He’s been recruiting me since eighth grade and I believe in him.”

Raleek Brown is a five-star running back who committed to play for new USC coach Lincoln Riley. Check out our tracker featuring all of Riley’s pledges.

Dec. 2, 2021