What a day last Friday was for Long Beach Poly (Calif.) athlete Desean Jackson. Jackson competed in three different sports and with little rest in between showing he could be the best all around athlete in the country this year.
Student Sports and Nike got together last Friday to produce three separate events which all took place on the campus of USC. First up was the tryouts for the Milwaukee Brewers Area Code Baseball team at 8:00 AM. Over 100 top players from five different states- California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii competed for the opportunity to participate in the prestigious Area Code Baseball games in August.
The tryouts are unique in that players are notified that day whether or not they have made the team. Going on at the same time as the baseball tryouts was the Nike 7 on 7 Passing Championships which Long Beach Poly was a part of. Jackson competed at the baseball event until 12:00 when he walked over to Howard Jones field for Poly's first game.
The Jackrabbit's took on tourney co-favorite Hart, Newhall and won 26-20 as Jackson caught all four touchdowns and put on an absolute show. What made his performance even more impressive was he was being defended by one of the state's best defensive backs in Ryan Wolfe. Jackson then had an hour between games and headed back over to the baseball stadium.
At 2:00, Jackson was back on the football field as Poly took on Edison, Huntington Beach in a semi-final game. Jackson caught two more touchdowns and Poly cruised in to the finals. The Jackrabbits fell in the final to Mission Viejo but Jackson was named tourney co-MVP and showed why he's hands down the top receiver in the West region.
The final game ended at 4:30 and Jackson was rushed over to McCarthy Hall to compete in the 'Summer of Speed' fastest teen in Southern CA contest. A track was laid down on the campus and seven heats with four competitors each raced in the 40 yard dash. Although obviously fatigued, Jackson won his first two heats to qualify with the second fastest time entering the final.
Running in a lane next to USC bound sprinter Lionel Larry, the state 100 and 200m champion two years ago, Jackson was barely edged out at the tape as Larry clocked a 4.28 while Jackson came in at 4.29, a personal best. An hour later, Jackson found out he was selected for the Area Code baseball team.
"Everyone knew about his speed but what surprised us was how good of an all around player he was," Area Code coordinator Brentt Eads said. "He had one of three best outfield arms I saw and was making incredible one hop throws to third from right field.
So to summarize, Jackson made one of the nation's top baseball teams that will compete against other top players from all over the country as well as the Dominican in front of over 100 college and pro scouts, earned MVP honors at the 7 on 7 passing tournament and then clocked a 4.29-40 at the end of the day to finish runner up in the fastest teen contest. Not a bad days work for Mr. Jackson.
"I was tired but had a great time," Jackson said. "At first I was only planning to do the baseball event but I got talked in to doing the other two and I'm definitely glad I did. I don't even run track and Lionel just got off to such a great start. I felt like I was gaining on him at the end but 40 yards is a pretty short race and I ran out of time. It made me think what I could do in track if I actually devoted some time to it but baseball and football are my sports and I barely have time for those two."