By Kyle Kensing
LOS ANGELES -- USC's do-everything standout Adoree' Jackson will not be competing for the U.S. Olympic team next month in Rio de Janeiro, but he will remain a loyal consumer to one of the Games' primary corporate sponsors.
"I love [McDonalds]. That's my go-to," Jackson said Thursday during Pac-12 Media Days in Hollywood. "Last night, I had ... three McChickens, a fish filet, a large fry and a large sweet tea. That's just what I love to eat."
Meal of champions? It is if you're Jackson.
In May, he won the Pac-12 championship in the long jump with a result of 25 feet, 3 ½ inches, and finished second in the conference's 100-meter dash. His dream of reaching the Olympics is on hold for another four years after he finished 10th in the Olympic trials -- he said he aspires to balance pursuit of the 2020 Games with his future NFL career -- but in the meantime, Jackson will have more opportunities to feast
"I know having a high metabolism, I can go out there, run it off, and I'll get back into shape," he said.
Jackson can sustain an unconventional diet because he expends energy at an unconventional pace. USC head coach Clay Helton describes Jackson as "one of the most special, talented athletes there are in the country." That rare athleticism manifested in him playing on offense, defense and special teams.
He returned 24 punts in 2015, two of which went for touchdowns; caught 27 passes for 414 yards with another pair of scores; and earned first-team All-Pac-12 recognition at cornerback, his primary position.
Burning some calories is a guarantee with that kind of workload.
Jackson said Thursday he anticipates focusing more on cornerback than wide receiver next season, citing the Trojans' loaded corps. JuJu Smith-Schuster, who arrived at USC with Jackson in the same 2014 signing class, is a preseason All-American and headliner of a deep group of receivers. A conversation with his father also contributed to Jackson's willingness to specialize more on defense.
"My dad was telling me, 'You could play receiver, you could play defense, you be defense and returner or offense and returner, but you have to pick one,'" he said. "It's going to be rare you can go both ways at the next level."
His pro future may be on defense, but in college, Jackson still gives Helton an ace up the sleeve should he choose to play it. Pac-12 competition would rather Helton didn't.
Utah cornerback Justin Thomas said the toughest part of his job is "guarding guys like Adoree' Jackson."
"He's a very dynamic player," Cal defensive end DeVante Wilson said. "He's shifty, he's explosive. He's very tough to contain. He'll make you miss and outrun you."
After running a 100-meter in the neighborhood of 10.4 seconds this spring, Jackson said he feels ever more prepared to outrun opponents, or stay stride-for-stride, as the situation dictates. To that end, focusing on track in lieu of spring football practices may prove a greater benefit to Jackson on the gridiron come fall.
Former head coach Steve Sarkisian asked Jackson to participate in the 15-workout spring schedule a year ago. This year, Helton and the USC coaching staff, including returning defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, kept Jackson looped in on schematic changes with an iPad.
Balancing track and football might seem like a cumbersome enough task on its own, but Jackson is always hungry for more.
"I wish SC had a [men's] soccer team," he said. "I'd probably go out there and try to play. It'd help me with my footwork. I'd tell coach that. I was legit."
If not soccer, perhaps Trojans basketball coach Andy Enfield should give Jackson a call. He was a standout guard in his hometown of Belleville, Illinois, before transferring to Serra High School in Gardena, California, before his sophomore year.
He compared his game to Milwaukee Bucks signee and former Cleveland Cavalier Matthew Dellavedova. In line with his outlook on football, Jackson said his niche on the basketball is playing defense.
"I've been talking to the basketball team at SC," he said in jest. "Just play me three minutes at the end of the game, so I can say I played three sports in college. Name somebody else. You got Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and Jackie Robinson. That's rare. I can be on Mount Rushmore with those guys."
Ambition to play three sports, plus go to the NFL and qualify for the Olympics, and Jackson still has the energy to perfect his cooking skills watching Food Network. Jackson said he learns recipes watching "Chopped," "Cutthroat Kitchen" and other series, which helps him keep the fast-food consumption to a minimum.
That doesn't mean Jackson would turn down the opportunity to endorse one of his favorites as a professional, however.
"If McDonalds didn't [sponsor] me, I'd endorse Reese's [peanut butter cups]," he said. "Hopefully Reese's will sponsor me like Marshawn Lynch with Skittles."
Either way, Jackson will more than enough in the tank to burn it all off.
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Kyle Kensing is a contributor to Sports on Earth. He is a sports journalist in Southern California and has covered college football and basketball for a variety of outlets in the last decade. Follow Kyle on Twitter@kensing45 for insights on sports, cinema and old Simpsons episodes.