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Thursday, July 18, 2013
Roundtable: Five Trojans statues

By WeAreSC

One of the ideas mentioned for improvements at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a statue area to honor past USC greats. If you could put five statues, who would be your choices to represent the history of Trojans football?

Garry Paskwietz

John McKay
John McKay led USC to four national championships and nine league titles from 1960 to 1975. He already has a statue on campus, but deserves one at the Los Angeles Coliseum as well.
John McKay: The elder statesman of USC football and the man who is generally considered to have done the most to elevate the program to its greatest heights. There is already a statue of McKay in front of the John McKay Center, so go ahead and throw another one up in front of the Coliseum.

Marcus Allen: You need to have at least one statue of a tailback at the home of Tailback U, and the vote here goes to Allen. Not only did he put up terrific numbers on the field, including a Heisman Trophy, he has also been a top-notch ambassador for the university off the field.

Ronnie Lott: It makes sense to have a statue of Lott next to Allen, considering the two have been linked since their playing days and are often seen together at SC games. Lott’s impact as a player stands on its own, as he is known as perhaps the most physical safety in the history of the game.

Matt Leinart: There also has to be a quarterback represented and who better than Leinart, who sported a 37-2 record and a memorable late touchdown against Notre Dame that will go down as one of the defining moments in USC football history. Leinart also has a Heisman on his mantel.

Ron Yary: It’s fitting to include an offensive lineman, and Yary edges out Brad Budde and Tony Boselli for our vote. Yary remains the only Outland Trophy winner from USC and he was later a No. 1 NFL overall draft pick. There was a lot of consideration given to putting Morley Drury in this spot as the “Noblest Trojan of them all” for his 1927 All-American season, but Yary got the nod.

Johnny Curren

Brice Taylor: If you’re talking about the history of USC football, the program’s first All-American, Brice Taylor -- who garnered that honor in 1925 – has to be included. Also the school’s most notable early African American player, Taylor was a 5-foot-9, 185-pound offensive guard who – despite being born without his left hand – also starred on the track at USC.

John McKay: Sure, he already has a statue – as well as a building – on campus, but it just wouldn’t be right to leave the Silver Fox out of this discussion. With four national championship teams, two Heisman Trophy winners and six Rose Bowl victories to his credit, he’s still arguably the most highly regarded head coach in USC history.

Marcus Allen: A tremendous representative of the university who exemplifies what it means to be a Trojan, Allen is a big reason why USC is known as “Tailback U” today. The 1981 Heisman Trophy winner, he was also a member of the 1978 national championship team and he went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NFL.

Ron Yary: How about some love for one of the program’s first big-name offensive linemen? After all, those early national titles would never have happened under McKay, and there wouldn’t be any “Tailback U” without guys like Yary – the school’s only Outland Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick in the 1968 NFL draft.

Matt Leinart: Someone has to represent the Trojans’ magical run in the mid-2000s, and Leinart is a more-than-fitting candidate. The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, he compiled a record of 37-2 as a starter and helped USC win two national titles.

Greg Katz

Marcus Allen: O.J. Simpson was the best tailback ever at USC, but a statue of him would provide more negative conversation than what he did after his Trojans career; therefore, I would go with Marcus Allen, a Heisman Trophy winner and a selfless player, a Hall of Famer at all levels, and a person of great character and dignity. He has continued to support the Trojans through his media opportunities and has been a role model for those that have come after him.

Matt Leinart
Matt Leinart won the 2004 Heisman Trophy and led the Trojans to two national championships.
Matt Leinart: Who cares if he hasn’t been a big splash in the NFL? His Heisman Trophy and his Trojans career accomplishments are legendary. A three-time All-American more than makes the case. No, he wasn’t an extraverted personality, but he did all his talking on the field and deserves to be included in the inaugural five statue selections. He led his team to two national championships and his exploits will be talked about for years, especially that final drive at Notre Dame in 2005. The Trojans were 37-2 when he started.

Ronnie Lott: You could make a case that Lott is the greatest combination of player and character in the history of USC football. A Hall of Fame selection for both the college and pros, Lott might be the greatest defensive player in school history. His combination of athleticism, intelligence, discipline, and guile is as good as it gets. His leadership skills are off the chart, and he is the epitome of being a Trojan. He is so well respected that there is a national award named after him for the best combination of athletic ability and character. A no-brainer.

John McKay: Yes, he already has a statue and a building named after him, but the statue doesn’t not reside where he gained his greatest fame – the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He belongs at the Coliseum. Yes, he already has a plaque in the peristyle end, but nobody really sees it unless they're searching for it. If anybody deserves a statue in front of the Coliseum, it’s The Silver Fox and after all, his aches were spread on the storied turf.

Ron Yary: It would be hard to argue that he isn’t the greatest offensive lineman in the university’s history. A Hall of Famer in college and the NFL, he is the Trojans' only Outland Trophy winner (1967), which goes to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman. A two-time All-American, his character is greatly admired by many and he has represented the university well. When you’re talking about the greatest lineman in Trojans history, offense or defense, his name is always near or at the top. No other word for Yary other than “legend.”