USC junior cornerback Jackie Jones will be ruled academically ineligible for the 2018 season, according to a report on the USC Rivals site.
Jones did not take part in recent spring ball drills in order to focus on academics, and was to be suspended for the season opener against UNLV for a violation of team rules. Now that absence will be extended to include the entire season.
“It is quite unfortunate that Jackie Jones has been ruled academically ineligible,” said former USC cornerback Darrell Rideaux. “The USC team was counting on his big play making ability and to reap the benefit of another year under the Clancy Pendergast system. One can only hope that this is an eye opener for Jones and that he uses this time wisely to set his priorities in order.
“As a fan of Jack Jack and a former player, I’m embarrassed by his lack of commitment to his academics, knowing the amount of resources that the university provides student athletes. This time away from football will speak to his character, does he make the sacrifices to change his study routines. A set back like this can have a a profound impact on his life, I hope recognizes the quality of his USC education can take him further than the game of football.”
There’s no doubt that Jones is an on-field talent (he led the Trojans with four picks last season) with so much pure athleticism and speed, and you can never have too many good corners when you play in the Pac-12 conference. But as we’ve seen multiple times, there is another side of Jones that has cost the team with penalties, a lack of focus and a bravado that hasn’t always matched the results. Even Clay Helton, in his player’s coach style, was seen with his arm around Jackie last year in games after having to pull him to the sideline for a play or two, to try and rein Jackie in.
In spring, when Jones was out of action, it was notable to see the lack of his antics and the secondary adjusted just fine. There were definitely rumblings among the media that Jones better get back quick if he wanted his job back because others were taking advantage of his absence. Isaiah Langley started all spring in his place and both Jonathan Lockett and Greg Johnson looked good as well, not to mention the fall camp arrivals from Olijah Griffin and Isaac Taylor-Stuart.
It’s unclear at this point what the next move will be for Jackie, if he will look to come back to USC, go to a junior college, or transfer to another four-year school. As a third year junior he would also have the option of entering the NFL draft next year.