Long Beach Poly's DeSean Jackson almost stayed home to play for USC, but Trojans lost him because he felt coaches betrayed a confidence. Now he stars for rival
By Gary Klein, Times Staff Writer
He could have been a Trojan. He wanted to be a Trojan. He was only a signature away from becoming a Trojan. But shortly after DeSean Jackson awoke on Feb. 2, 2005, the first day high school football players could sign national letters of intent that year, someone called and told the Long Beach Poly High star that there were reports he already was a USC Trojan. As the day wore on, the speedy receiver and kick returner became convinced that USC coaches had betrayed what he felt was an agreement to keep his decision a secret. That night, the player who would become one of college football's most electrifying performers announced on television that he would attend
"It was definitely one of our biggest recruiting victories, because it doesn't happen with us all the time with USC," Cal Coach Jeff Tedford said recently. Jackson, a 6-foot, 166-pound sophomore, has caught nine touchdown passes, many from long range, and also has returned four punts for touchdowns. USC Coach Pete Carroll sees many similarities between 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and the thrill-a-minute
"He had spots [last season] when he made some plays but he's really torn it up this year," Carroll said. "Gosh, they've thrown to him deep so many times and the punt returns alone are awesome. "It doesn't surprise me at all. I thought he was a great player, a really, really talented guy."
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