After declaring plans to enter the NFL draft, many college football players stop going to class as they prepare for the annual Scouting Combine and meet with teams — with a professional career hopefully not far off. However, University of Southern California cornerback-wide receiver-returner Adoree' Jackson has a different plan.
Jackson, a junior, recently announced that he will forgo his final season of eligibility playing for the Trojans (who recently won the Rose Bowl against Penn State) and enter the 2017 NFL draft. "What was on my mind was that nothing is guaranteed in life and to take advantage of every opportunity that is put in front of you," he wrote on Twitter of his decision.
This philosophy could also be applied to Jackson's choice to continue his education. Earlier this week, he responded to a Twitter user who wondered why he was still attending classes after his announcement.
"Trying to get this degree boss!" he wrote. "Trying to make major moves."
While some players such as Cam Newton and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix have gone back to school after starting their careers with the NFL, SB Nation points out that Jackson's intention to stay in school in the months leading up to the draft is more rare.
Jackson mentioned his plans to finish school all the way back in 2013, when he wrote on Twitter that he wanted to "get all I can" out of college.
Many on Twitter praised Jackson for valuing his education, calling him a "role model" and pointing out that a college degree is "yours forever," no matter what may happen in his athletic career.
According to a 2014 op-ed from Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, "Studies commissioned by the NFL Players Association show that players who finish college have longer careers and earn more money than those who don't."
As Bleacher Report notes, many players who declare for the draft in their third year don't get picked. Former Alabama player Darrington Sentimore, for example, admitted to the site, "A lot of guys like me are sitting at home wishing they had that degree."
Jackson, who won the Jim Thorpe Award last year, is listed as a communication major on the Trojans website. He recently tweeted about taking an accounting class, and although he initially didn't seem thrilled about an early start or sitting in a two-hour lecture on the first day, he later shared that his teacher "made class fun" and "had a lot of energy."
One person Jackson has definitely made proud is his mother Vianca, who last season crashed one of his interviews at the first game she was able to attend after fighting breast cancer. "I'm so proud of my son," she said.
We commend Jackson for setting a positive example and wish him the best in his athletic and academic pursuits.
(H/T: SB Nation)