College Sports

Former Belleville East football player taken in first round of NFL draft

Southern California’s Adoree’ Jackson, left, poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Tennessee Titans during the first round of the 2017 NFL football draft, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Philadelphia.
Southern California’s Adoree’ Jackson, left, poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Tennessee Titans during the first round of the 2017 NFL football draft, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Philadelphia. AP

Adoree’ Jackson, the Belleville-bred cornerback from the University of Southern California, was selected no. 18 overall by the Tennessee Titans in the NFL draft Thursday.

Projected initially as an early second rounder, Jackson’s athleticism and versatility led the Titans to make him their first-round pick, with a deep field of defensive backs still on the board.

Jackson attended Belleville East his freshman year, then moved west to California to live with his sister and brother-in-law, finish high school and attend USC.

As a Trojan, Jackson was named a Freshman All-American, Pac-12 Defensive Rookie of the Year, first-team all-conference and an All-American. As a junior, Jackson won the Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in college football.

In three years at USC, Jackson recorded 139 tackles, 6 interceptions and two fumbles and added 8 touchdowns via kick and punt returns. He also caught 27 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns and has 941 total kick return yards.

Jackson’s size — 5-foot-10, 185 pounds — was a concern to some scouts and draft forecasters. But his athleticism and speed rank among the best in the first round.

Jackson’s parents are Christopher and Vianca Jackson, who still live in Belleville.

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