Top USC Trojans sleepers 

January, 22, 2013
1/22/13
7:00
AM PT
Even after a less-than-stellar 2012 season, it’s safe to say USC has enjoyed phenomenal success on the football field over the past decade or so. And while a number of factors have gone into that run, one crucial component has been the ability of the coaching staff to put together elite recruiting classes every year.

And while USC has gotten plenty of production from five-star, blue-chip recruits, the Trojans have also unearthed their share of hidden gems.

Here’s a look at five of the top sleepers who produced big for the Trojans:

1. S Troy Polamalu, Douglas (Winston, Ore.), Class of 1999
Hidden away in the small town of Tenmile, Oregon, Polamalu wasn’t heavily recruited coming out of high school despite starring on both sides of the ball for Douglas. Winding up at USC primarily because of his uncle and current Trojans’ running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu, he would go on to earn All-American honors at safety before
landing in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he’s earned seven Pro Bowl berths.

2. LB Clay Matthews III, Agoura (Agoura Hills, Calif.), Class of 2004
The son of former Trojans’ All-American Clay Matthews Jr., Matthews III was physically undersized as a prep player and arrived at USC as an unrecruited walk-on. A tireless worker, he would eventually develop into a monster for the Trojans at linebacker, particularly in his senior season when he posted 56 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss. Now with the Green Bay Packers, he’s established himself as one of the NFL’s most prolific pass rushers.