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Five-star cornerback Domani Jackson commits to USC

USC is unlikely to land a bigger commitment in the 2022 recruiting class than the one that came Saturday afternoon, as five-star cornerback Domani Jackson pledged to the Trojans.

The past several recruiting classes have offered “must-get” local defensive targets for the Trojans that USC was unable to land in the 2019 and 2020 classes, as defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and Justin Flowe signed with Oregon. But the Trojans have righted the ship recently. USC signed defensive end Korey Foreman, the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2021 class, this past December, and now grabbed a commitment from Jackson, the No. 3 overall prospect in the 2022 recruiting class.

The importance of this commitment at this time can’t be overstated. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect has been regarded as a top prospect in this class since his freshman year and he brings the entire package that you look for in a top recruit.

He possesses a combination of true speed and strength that is extremely rare in a high school athlete and he has the ability to contribute heavily as a true freshman. Beyond the field, he’s a leader and can serve as a point man for the 2022 class for the Trojans. USC has had plenty of recruits over the years take on that role, and quarterback Miller Moss served in it well this past year. But it’s rare that a West Coast five-star prospects makes a commitment this early in the process, which gives Jackson and the Trojans even more time to take advantage.

Typically, the top non-quarterback prospect in California does not announce much earlier than signing day. In this past class, Foreman announced a couple weeks after he actually signed. Dating back to the 2012 class, only two No. 1 non-quarterback recruits in California have publicly committed to the team they signed with more than a month before signing day — Su’a Cravens in the 2012 class and Jaelan Phillips in the 2017 class.

Jackson leads a loaded Mater Dei program that features a number of other USC targets, including linebacker David Bailey, running back Raleek Brown and wide receiver C.J. Williams, among others. He’s also very close with fellow five-star cornerback Will Johnson (Grosse Point, Mich./Grosse Point South), who could commit soon and has spoken at length about wanting to play alongside Jackson in college.

This is another major recruiting win for USC cornerbacks coach Donte Wiliams, who reeled Jackson in against strong pulls from Arizona State, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State and others. Williams continue to help stockpile tremendous athletes in that defensive backfield, and he’s been instrumental with recruits at a number of other positions — a big reason why he recently added the title of Associate Head Coach.

USC just signed a recruiting class that included four-star cornerbacks Prophet Brown and Jaylin Smith, plus four-star safeties Anthony Beavers, Xamarion Gordon and Calen Bullock. The Trojans are also in line to sign four-star cornerback Ceyair Wright in February. All of that coming after a year in which USC signed no defensive backs in the 2020 class.

Jackson’s commitment is the first from a top-10 California prospect in the 2022 recruiting class and could start the Trojans on another offseason recruiting roll.

USC suffered a decommitment earlier Saturday from four-star linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany), but the positivity of adding Jackson will overshadow that for now.

Jackson’s commitment gives the Trojans four verbal pledges in the 2022 class, as he joins four-star cornerback Fabian Ross (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), four-star quarterback Devin Brown (Queen Creek, Ariz./Queen Creek) and three-star offensive lineman Dylan Lopez (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde).

Erik McKinney

Erik McKinney began writing for WeAreSC in 2004, during his junior year at USC, covering the Trojans football team and recruiting. He then moved on to ESPN.com in 2011, where he served as the West Region recruiting reporter and then the Pac-12 recruiting reporter. He took over as publisher of WeAreSC in January, 2019.

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