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California receiver DeSean Jackson, a Heisman Trophy candidate, called out USC cornerback Terrell Thomas in the new issue of ESPN The Magazine. Thomas and Jackson verbally sparred last season after the Trojans' 23-9 victory over Cal at the Coliseum, a game in which Jackson caught two passes. Thomas had said that he shut Jackson down and the former Long Beach Poly star responded by yelling that USC had triple-teamed him with a cornerback, linebacker and a safety.
Asked about the Thomas incident, Jackson told writer Bruce Feldman, "That dude was just talkin' to be talkin'. If Pete Carroll told his 10 other players to focus on everything else and it was just me and Terrell Thomas, oh man, I'd expose that dude. But being the best player, you gotta deal with that stuff. It just makes you better." Apprised of Jackson's comments on Wednesday, Thomas said, "He had two catches and we won -- that's all I care about. He can take it as an individual matchup. I enjoy the competition, but we play a team game. . . . It wasn't just me. It was the whole defense." Jackson also said he would rather defeat the Trojans than win the Heisman. "Honestly I don't need to win it if we beat SC," he said.