As we mentioned last Sunday, rumors swirled all weekend that Van Nuys (Cali.) Birmingham defensive end Malik Jackson had committed to USC on his visit. Jackson wasn't ready to comment publicly on the rumors at the time but he's now able to excitedly say he's a Trojan.
Jackson, 6-5, 225 pounds is arguably the top defensive end in the state. He doesn't get anywhere near the recognition of some other top rush ends like Wes Horton or Datone Jones but in our eyes, Jackson out performed both this year by a wide margin.
Jackson has huge upside and great physical tools. He's incredibly quick off the ball, has long arms that he uses well to keep blockers off of him and can really get up the field. He also plays with an edge and a swagger to him and is one of those players that you hate to play against but love to play with.
"I committed the second Coach Carroll offered me on Sunday," Jackson said. "My mom didn't want me to say anything yet because it's such a big decision and she wanted to make sure I thought it out and wasn't rushing in to anything.
"The thing was, I had already decided ahead of time that if I got an offer, I was going to jump on it. I'm just so excited to be a Trojan right now and I know not many people in the Valley where I'm from have an opportunity to get an offer and play for a school like USC.
"Academically, I plan to major in Communications and USC has one of the best programs around in that field. From a football standpoint, you just can't beat what USC offers. They told me they want me to come in with the mindset of winning a job and starting right away.
"If I need to redshirt, I can do that but they don't even want me to think that way. They want me to have the mentality that it's my job to lose and that's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to work my butt off and do all I can to get on the field next season."
Jackson still has some work to do in the classroom but is confident he'll have no problem qualifying.
"I just need to get my SAT or ACT score up a little," Jackson said. "I'm going to keep taking both tests and I'm confident I'll do much better now that football is over. Before, it was tough to find time to study because football is such a big commitment but I'm working hard to prepare myself for the test and doing well on my school work also. I want to try and bump up my GPA and along with scoring higher on my test, I know I'll be OK."