Lincoln Riley is happy to have Domani Jackson healthy and back on the practice field.

The 5-star signee and gem of the 2022 recruiting class missed out on some crucial spring development as he rehabbed from an injury that also cut short his senior season of high school ball. But, now healthy, Jackson’s talent is shining through in a big way.

“He had a really good summer, got his body in shape, and you really see some flashes,” head coach Lincoln Riley said of the youngster at corner. “You see some of the physical traits he has, the speed, and he’s also very, very strong for a player at his position and at his age.”

Those traits made Jackson the top recruit from the state of California. It made him nationally coveted. So when he initially left the Trojan class last November and Alabama began trending, there was naturally quite a bit of angst in Los Angeles. But Lincoln Riley has steadied the boat in a number of ways since joining the SC program, and with Riley on board, Jackson jumped right back in.

Now, he’s got a chance to play immediately as a first-year cornerback.

“I think each day there’s more and more plays where he’s able to turn it loose and use those physical abilities,” Riley said. “Each day he’s thinking less, understanding it more. He’s been a good competitor. He certainly has a bright future.”

If Jackson is to play a key role, he’ll have to beat out a number of guys to do so.

Colorado transfer Mekhi Blackmon is penciled in as a starter at one of the corner spots at this point. Ceyair Wright has reportedly been running with the 1s in fall camp. USC also has Joshua Jackson Jr. back and healthy after missing time in the spring. This summer, the room added Washington transfer Jacobe Covington.

“We’re a lot deeper there than we were in the spring,” Riley said of the competition at corner. “It’s a good battle. I mean, I think we have a number of guys there that are gonna play meaningful snaps for us. I would say Blackmon has certainly continued to impress, had a really strong start to camp. Domani is doing a nice job. Ceyair Wright’s really had a… been really impressed with Ceyair. It’s been good to get Josh (Jackson Jr.) back off of his injury and have him full-go.

“It’s a good group. They battle. I think we’ve got several that can play. And Jacobe Covington, certainly one I need to mention that’s had a good start to camp and you can see getting more comfortable by the day. Yeah, our numbers have been good, our depth’s been good, the competitive depth’s been good. I think we’ll have a number of contributors here and we’ll be looking at those guys in December or January and saying, ‘Wow, those guys helped this team.’”