USC Trojans: troy polamalu

Pac-12 all-BCS-era team

January, 13, 2014
We're looking back at the BCS era, which lasted from 1998 to 2013, so it made sense to make an all-Pac-12 BCS-era team.

Here's our shot at it. You surely will be outraged over the player from your team who got left out.

With our evaluation, NFL careers came into play with only the offensive linemen because they are so difficult to compare.


[+] EnlargeMatt Leinart
Jeff Lewis/USA TODAY SportsFormer USC QB Matt Leinart, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, threw 99 career TD passes.
QB Matt Leinart, USC: Nearly won three national titles. Won 2004 Heisman Trophy and placed third in 2005. Threw 99 career TD passes.

RB Reggie Bush, USC: The 2005 Heisman Trophy winner was one of the most dynamic players in college football history. (Bush returned the Heisman in 2012.)

RB LaMichael James, Oregon: Two-time first-team All-Pac-12, 2010 Doak Walker Award winner and unanimous All-American finished his career ranked second in Pac-12 history in rushing yards (5,082) and TDs (53). Nips other stellar RBs such as Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, Stanford's Toby Gerhart and USC's LenDale White.

WR Mike Hass, Oregon State: Two-time first-team All-Pac-12 and 2005 Biletnikoff Award winner was the first Pac-12 player to record three consecutive seasons over 1,000 yards receiving. His 3,924 receiving yards ranks third all time in the conference. This, of course, could have been fellow Beaver Brandin Cooks or USC's Marqise Lee, who both also won the Biletnikoff Award.

WR Dwayne Jarrett, USC: A two-time consensus All-American, he set the Pac-12 standard with 41 touchdown receptions.

TE Marcedes Lewis, UCLA: A 2005 consensus All-American and John Mackey Award winner as the nation's best tight end. Caught 21 career TD passes.

OL David Yankey, Stanford: A unanimous All-American in 2013, he was a consensus All-American and Morris Trophy winner as the Pac-12's best offensive lineman in 2012.

OL Sam Baker, USC: A 2006 consensus All-American and three-time first-team All-Pac-12 performer.

OL Ryan Kalil, USC: Won the 2006 Morris Trophy. Two-time first-team All-Pac-12.

OL David DeCastro, Stanford: A unanimous All-American in 2011 and two-time first-team All-Pac-12 performer.

OL Alex Mack, California: A two-time winner of the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12's best offensive lineman (2007 & 2008).

K Kai Forbath, UCLA: Consensus All-American and Lou Groza Award winner in 2009. Made 84.16 percent of his field goals, which is nearly 5 percent better than any other kicker in conference history.


LB Rey Maualuga, USC: Was a consensus All-American and won the Bednarik Award as the nation's top defensive player in 2008. Three-time first-team All-Pac-12.

LB Trent Murphy, Stanford: 2013 consensus All-American and two-time first-team All-Pac-12 performer.

LB Anthony Barr, UCLA: Consensus All-American 2013 and two-time first-team All-Pac-12.

DL Will Sutton, Arizona State: Two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and Morris Trophy winner in 2012 and 2013. Consensus All-American in 2012.

DL Haloti Ngata, Oregon: A consensus All-American and Morris Trophy winner in 2005.

DL Rien Long, Washington State: Won the Outland Trophy and was a consensus All-American in 2002.

DL Terrell Suggs, Arizona State: A unanimous All-American in 2002 after setting NCAA single-season record with 24 sacks. Won the Lombardi Trophy. Two-time first-team All-Pac-12.

CB Chris McAlister, Arizona: Unanimous All-American in 1998. Three-time first-team All-Pac-12.

CB Antoine Cason, Arizona: Won the Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back in 2007. Two-time first-team All-Pac-12.

S Troy Polamalu, USC: Two-time All-Pac-10 and consensus All-American in 2002.

S Taylor Mays, USC: A three-time All-American, he was a consensus All-American in 2008. Two-time first-team All-Pac-12.

P Bryan Anger, California: A three-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection and two-time Ray Guy semifinalist.

Overlooked recruits on all-time USC team

July, 11, 2013
Here are three all-time greats at USC who were under-recruited.

SS Troy Polamalu: It’s hard to imagine right now, considering that he turned out to be one of the elite safeties in USC history, but there was a point when then-USC head coach Paul Hackett basically had to be talked into offering Polamalu a scholarship. Polamalu had moved to a small town in Oregon for his high school career at Winston (Ore.) Douglas, and the long arm of recruiting coverage wasn’t as big then, so there wasn’t a lot of hype about him. Polamalu had an offer from Stanford, which he was close to accepting, along with the possibility of playing baseball at USC, but his uncle Kennedy Polamalu was a former Trojans fullback who was then coaching at San Diego State. The elder Polamalu reached out to Hackett and assured him his nephew was worth the ride, and the rest is history. Polamalu ended up an All-American for the Trojans, was a first-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers and has won two Super Bowls. -- Garry Paskwietz

Lofa Tatupu
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesAfter transferring to USC from Maine, middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu helped the Trojans return to national prominence.
LB Lofa Tatupu: Another hard-to-believe-it-now story, but Tatupu -- a 2004 All-American -- couldn’t get a sniff from the Trojans coming out of high school primarily due to the fact that he stood under 6-foot tall and weighed less than 220 pounds at the time. In fact, despite compiling 110 tackles on defense and throwing for 800 yards at quarterback as a senior at Plainville (Mass.) King Philip Regional, the only program willing to take a shot at him was Division I-AA Maine. It was there, as a freshman in 2001, that Tatupu showed that he was destined for greater things, grabbing a starting linebacker job right off the bat and posting 67 tackles. Following that season, Tatupu decided to leave Maine and to do everything that he could to land at a high level college football power. USC, where his father, Mosi, had starred as a fullback in the mid-70s was at the top of his list, and he sent a highlight tape to Pete Carroll with the hopes of getting a look. To his surprise, Carroll -- who was in the process of rebuilding the program -- soon extended a scholarship offer that Tatupu immediately accepted. After sitting out the 2002 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Tatupu would seize the starting middle linebacker job and develop into the heart and soul of a very talented defensive unit. Leading the team in tackles in 2003 and 2004, he helped USC compile a record of 25-1 in his time on the field. -- Johnny Curren

DL Dan Owens: The former La Habra (Calif.) High defensive lineman wasn’t all that well known outside of prep football crazy Orange County at the time, and he wasn’t exactly a household recruiting name, either. Owens was a quick and very physical player, but he was not flashy. In the 1985 Orange County prep All-Star Game, his coach had to restrict him in practice because he was such a disruptive force. Owens work ethic and unrelenting style of play elevated him from a recruiting secret eventually into a major cog along the USC defensive line. Former Trojans All-America defensive lineman Tim Ryan and Owens teammate once said that the Orange County was really “underrated” and that he did things on film that were just amazing. Owens' work ethic and non-stop motor turned him into an All-Pac-10 selection his senior season, and he was later rewarded as the 35th player selected in the NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. He started his rookie season with the Lions and later played for the Atlanta Falcons. Not bad for a kid who said at the time upon entering USC that his only goal was to be successful in college. -- Greg Katz

The Mag: Polamalu's financial success

June, 11, 2013
Darren Rovell profiled former USC great Troy Polamalu for ESPN The Magazine's Money Issue. Unlike some players, Polamalu has gotten rid of the yes-men and is saving his money for life after football.

Click here to read the full story.
LOS ANGELES -- For departing USC Trojans football players making that final walk up the storied Coliseum tunnel, it can foreshadow a transition into the NFL, a sports-related career, or an entirely different vocation.

For former Trojans uch as Troy Polamalu, Carson Palmer, Sam Baker, and brothers Ryan and Matt Kalil, making a living in the National Football League makes life a whole lot simpler. The dream continues, complete with hefty paychecks.

Top USC Trojans sleepers 

January, 22, 2013
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.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

WeAreSC Roundtable 

June, 7, 2012
“Which position do you think Su’a Cravens will play at USC?”

Garry Paskwietz

It’s a tribute to Su’a Cravens that so many position coaches are fighting to get him at their spot, but I think his eventual destination for the Trojans will be at free safety.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider