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Matty Trojan

Matt Barkley has given USC fans plenty to cheer about during his four years with the Trojans. AP Photo/Jae Hong

It is the rare athlete who is somehow able to rise above his name and his stats to reach a whole different elite level.

Because of his skill and his loyalty, his leadership and his dedication, he actually defines his program, or in the case of professional sports, his franchise. More often than not, he exudes a special aura on and off the field. He peers out from magazine covers, not police mug shots. He spends time in the community. He not only performs for his team, he comes to embody it.

Derek Jeter does it for the Yankees. Tom Brady does it for the Patriots. Tim Tebow did it at Florida, Mia Hamm for North Carolina.