GARDENA — All eyes rivet toward Serra junior Adoree' Jackson whenever he is on the field.
Cameras begin to flash. The buzz heightens. And fans crane their necks for a better view, not wanting to miss the next of Jackson's exploits.
"He's a highlight film," Serra coach Scott Altenberg said. "On every play, that's kind of the way he is. The best thing I can say about him is that he has the absolute most joy of playing football as much as any kid.
"It's almost like it's recess in grade school and he's out there running around, having the best time. It's impossible not to smile watching him. It's so much fun."
Perhaps Jackson's greatest talent is his ability to continue to outdo himself, whether it's breaking a game-changing play, defending a pass or stretching for extra yards on a catch or kick return. He can turn even the most mundane punt plays into something special, something spectacular.
Time and again, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Jackson reaches another level. And Jackson always is pushing for that next gear.
"The coaches have put more trust in me, and I knew this year I had to step up and be a leader," Jackson said. "Last year, it wasn't my turn. It was my time to wait and be patient. I knew if I did that, God would bless me."
Jackson is the next big thing at Serra, molded in the same way as Robert Woods, George Farmer and Marqise Lee before him, all three now at USC.
Jackson certainly will be the center of attention in today's CIF State Division 2 Bowl against Oakdale at the Home Depot Center, and he wants to leave his mark on this game, even if Oakdale's Wing-T offense will be more run-oriented.
"I'm ready," Jackson said. "I hope they throw the ball, but if I don't do it on defense, I'll go do it on offense or special teams."
Jackson began learning to cope with the hype when he posted a 24-foot, 10-inch, long jump. He added to that lore with a 25-foot, one-half inch, mark to win the CIF State title.
"When I got 24-10 the first time, everyone kind of expected me to do big and great things," Jackson said. "In football, I knew I had to step up big and do great things, too."
Jackson's season is defined by two moments..
Early in the season, Jackson said a group of Serra seniors approached him and told him that they wanted him to feel comfortable about being a leader. Then there was the injury to running back/slot player Anterio Bateman in Week 6, which thrust Jackson into a starring role.
His stock is rising quickly. He recently became a five-star Rivals recruit, the only five-star blue-chipper in his age group from California.
Jackson will be able to write his ticket to college for football or track, or both, though he said he will take his time making his decision.
Jackson has five interceptions on defense, but his impact plays are not strictly limited to his defense.
Jackson floored a Lompoc team that had won 32 straight games by catching a quick out-pass from quarterback Jalen Greene, juking two defenders and blazing toward the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown catch. It set the tone in a 34-21 victory in the CIF Southern Section Western Division semifinals.
Jackson called his own number for a fake punt in the Western Division final against Chaminade and dazzled with one of the most spectacular plays of the season. He sped down field, used a quick spin to break free and then absorbed a double-hit for a dazzling 43-yard touchdown.
Jackson also added a pick-six in the CIF State Regional Division 2 bowl against Edison last week.
"He refuses to be stopped in the game," Altenberg said.