Three USC cornerbacks detail their goals on and off the field
Iman Marshall wants to be legendary. Adoree’ Jackson wants to help his hometown community. And Kevon Seymour wants to get back on the field for USC’s next football game.
Those were some of the goals USC cornerbacks worked toward and discussed Wednesday before the Trojans, who have an open date Saturday, took a two-day break from practice.
It will take Marshall and Jackson a few years to achieve their goals, but coaches are hoping Seymour’s left knee has healed enough to allow him to play on Oct. 8 against Washington.
Marshall, a freshman, started the last two games in place of Seymour. He puts in extra work almost daily to improve his technique, his endurance and his ability to finish plays.
Marshall provided tight coverage on several plays in USC’s Sept. 19 loss to Stanford but did not stop Cardinal receivers from making tough catches.
“You could see I was in good position but I didn’t finish,” Marshall said. “And that’s the thing that’s going to separate the good from the great and the great from legendary.
“And what I’m trying to do is be legendary. So that’s why I try to do extra work.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Marshall improved last week against Arizona State.
He said he was learning from coaches and “all the older cats” such as Seymour, Jackson, linebacker Su’a Cravens and safety Chris Hawkins.
“Just take all that knowledge and soak it in,” he said.
Jackson, who scored on an 80-yard touchdown pass play and also had a 45-yard reception against Arizona State, said he uses his speed deceptively in one-on-one matchups in the open field.
“I try to make sure I don’t use my speed as much so I can lull you asleep,” he said, “And you think you got it and then I turn it on and then go.”
Coach Steve Sarkisian has invoked Reggie Bush’s name before when discussing Jackson’s speed and elusiveness.
The NCAA ordered USC to permanently disassociate from Bush as part of the sanctions imposed in 2010. So when he was asked whether there was anyone he would compare Jackson to in the open field, Sarkisian said jokingly, “There’s about one guy I can compare him to and I’m not allowed to say his name around here.”
Bush left USC for the NFL after his junior season.
Jackson is eligible for the draft after the 2016 season. He said he intended to earn his degree, “and I want to do a lot of stuff outside football.”
“Real estate, own franchises, be a landlord, give back to my community,” said Jackson, who grew up in Belleville, Ill., before moving to California after his freshman year to attend Gardena Serra High. “It’s a small little place. Nobody’s really out there. We don’t really have much.
“It’s being a hometown hero, not even on the field, but off the field. Give back to those people and my community.”
With no practice Thursday and Friday, USC’s coaching staff will hit the road for recruiting.
“We’re gone,” Sarkisian said after Wednesday’s workout. “We’re basically leaving right now.”
Sarkisian said staff members would be deployed locally and out of state.
USC has signed four players in the class of 2016 to financial-aid agreements, including linebacker Daelin Hayes, offensive lineman Nathan Smith, defensive back C.J. Pollard and receiver Michael Pittman.
Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was absent again because of what Sarkisian has described as “personal reasons.” Sarkisian declined to elaborate. “When he gets back we’ll address it then, but for right now it’s a personal issue,” Sarkisian said. “As a coach I have to be there for my players and right now that’s the status.”
Defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, who was sidelined at the end of last season because of a pectoral injury that required surgery, “tweaked” a similar area Wednesday, Sarkisian said.
Receiver Christian Tober has been sidelined because of a broken clavicle.
Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @LATimesKlein
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