A case in point pops up this week as Cal receiver DeSean Jackson pops off about USC. (I wrote a post for Conquest Chronicles earlier about Jackson’s comments following Cal’s loss to Zona, so consider this an update.)
Make no mistake, this kid is a very good player, but he’s also conceited, self-centered, cocky, and naïve, all of which combine to make great quotes for an opposing team’s bulletin board.
In today’s Los Angeles Times, Gary Klein captured lots of stupid stuff from Jackson’s mouth about his recruitment by USC. See if you can follow the logic …
As [signing] day wore on, the speedy receiver and kick returner became convinced that USC coaches had betrayed what he felt was an agreement to keep his decision a secret. That night, [Jackson] announced on television that he would attend California.As we stated earlier, Jackson is a hot dog. If the kid thinks he’s so special, why not prove it on Howard Jones field rather than make a big deal out of what “somebody” says on a recruiting message board. Of course, Carroll took the time to provide a forthright response, which tells us that Jackson has been marked even more than he would be otherwise.
"Just one of those last-minute decisions," Jackson said Monday in a telephone interview. "I kind of felt like they took it for granted that they had me." […]
"It's just too bad I'm not playing for SC because if I was playing for SC then it probably would be a different thing," he said. "I'm the closest thing to Reggie Bush. But I kind of don't like to follow after too many people. I just try to be myself."
Ask Jackson what attracted him to Cal and he cites the opportunity to mature away from home in Northern California and also to play as a freshman. [...]
But Jackson said he had given USC a verbal commitment.
"We talked it out for an agreement for us to be under the table because I feel I wanted to keep my other options open and available too," he said. […]
“Early in the morning, before we even signed, somebody's calling me and telling me it's all in the newspaper that SC says I already committed and all this other stuff," Jackson said. "That, right there, kind of made me just grab my paperwork from Cal and sign my letter of intent.
"There was too much cockiness over there for me. They were SC. They're national champions. They're just guaranteed they could have whoever they want.
"I kind of felt like I was a more special player than that and they shouldn't have taken it for granted like that."
"Nobody remembers him saying, 'I'm coming here,' " Carroll said. "He was always real serious about coming. But nobody in our place ever felt he was committed to us. We waited it out just like we do with other guys.In hindsight, we know now that Jackson isn’t the kind of kid who would reach his potential under Carroll’s approach. In terms of his self-centeredness and immaturity, he’s more R. Jay Soward than Reggie Bush, more Whitney Lewis than Desmond Reed or Travon Patterson.
"It's against the rules for us to talk about recruits before signing day. We don't do that."
Said [Lane] Kiffin: "As recruiting coordinator and receivers coach, I never knew of any commitment that was made by DeSean…. We were here sitting and watching it on TV…. We were assuming it was Cal because we had never heard anything."
In Jackson's own quotes there is evidence that he knew this, which is the real reason he passed up a shot to compete at USC.
"I heard somebody said I wasn't going to SC because of all the talent they had and all the receivers they had and I was scared and all this," he said. "That never really crossed my mind. I never really thought the players they had there were any better than me or anything like that because I'm capable of doing anything that their players are capable of doing."First Jackson tells Klein that he chose Cal in part because he wanted to play as a freshman, then he says this? First he says he committed to USC, then he makes up a story about why he didn’t? And who are these “somebody” people, anyway? Again, perhaps he’s not too bright. Need further evidence? Klein caught one last tidbit …
Before last season's game against USC, Jackson told the San Francisco Chronicle that he considered the matchup "my own rivalry game. It's been on my calendar all year."His own rivalry game, on his calendar? Sounds like one hell of a team player, doesn’t he? Of course, Jackson caught one pass for nine yards in his own rivalry game, as USC put the beat down on the rest of Jackson’s team 35-10 in Berkeley.
You’d think he would know – or at least someone at Cal would tell him – to keep his mouth shut this year. Instead, he went toe-to-toe with a pro in an encounter that was never fair from the start. Sure, maybe we’re picking on the kid … but it’s fun to call him out.
As for Jackson’s “own rivalry game” this Saturday, we’ll see what the Trojans have to say on the field.
Fight On! Beat the Bears!