Split decision

At Serra, though, somehow Adoree' Jackson blends in, perhaps because the high school will send two signees apiece to UCLA and USC this year even before Jackson's decision and one to Oregon as well as several others to smaller FBS programs.

There's also the history. People here are used to brushes with greatness. The Serra receiving trio of Robert Woods, Lee and George Farmer, all of whom attended USC, attracted similar attention in 2010 and 2011.

Last week, as Jackson readied for a workout with Biggs, out on the track walked former USC sprinter Bryshon Nellum, a member of the U.S. silver-medal-winning 4x400-meter relay team from the 2012 Olympic Games.

Jackson has Olympic aspirations for 2016 and has considered the track programs of his college finalists. Biggs said he expects Jackson to approach 27 feet in the long jump as a senior, a milestone that would break the national high-school record.

Britain's Greg Rutherford won Olympic gold in London with a leap of 27-3 ¼.

For Jackson, the ascension to prominence occurred in spite of a living arrangement in Los Angeles that turned unstable several months after the move from Illinois. Football coaches in the spring of 2012 heard complaints from teachers at Serra that Jackson was struggling to arrive on time and stay involved in class.

Jackson told the coaches he'd been sleeping at the homes of a few friends. His sister cared for two young children of her own while working as a teacher and Jackson didn't have a car. Additionally, Jason Keene, Jackson's brother-in-law, had been injured in a car accident.

"I had to grow up pretty quick," Jackson said.

It wasn't an easy time.

"This is not mommy's house," Lekisch Williams-Keene said she told her brother. "I'm not going to pamper you."

Josh Dabbs, the defensive coordinator at Serra, offered a room to Jackson at the three-bedroom rental home that Dabbs shares with fellow Serra assistant Jason Sands.

Jackson has lived with the coaches for much of the past two years.

"He's a good kid," Dabbs said, "and that's the only reason I did what I did. The way he carries himself is an indication of the job his parents did in raising him. But you know, sometimes, it takes a village."

Jackson's situation with his sister has improved, especially of late as she offers him counsel with the impending college choice.

He's got plenty to consider.

* * *

The phone beeped in Altenberg's left hand last Friday shortly after his 9 a.m. arrival at the high school.

It was USC - a coach texting to see who, among the competition, was headed to visit Jackson.

With an appointment set in the next 20 minutes to see LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and defensive coordinator John Chavis, Altenberg pushed the phone aside.

"What am I, their secretary?" the 14th-year coach said.

The wide-open nature of Jackson's recruitment has made this stretch run a "nightmare" for Altenberg, he said.

"Normally, an L.A. kid is an L.A. kid," he said. "But with him, everybody had a chance. And he's such a feel kid. If he hits it off with a coach, that coach is going to go back and think he's great. But that's just Adoree'.

"If someone asked me, with a gun to my head, what is the order of his final three, I could not say."

Of his four final finalists, Jackson made an official visit only to LSU before the final weekend. He saw each of the other campus in addition to official trips to Oklahoma, Tennessee and Florida State.

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