With Christmas just around the corner, little Trojan fans the world over are patiently awaiting the arrival of Old Saint Nick, hoping he has lots of toys and goodies and a better 2013 football season for them on his sleigh. Santa has undoubtedly been keeping his eye on USC sports this year, and while compiling his Naughty and Nice List, he contacted his dear friends at Reign of Troy for help. Which Trojan athletes deserve a spot on the Nice List? And for all those who make the cut, who will be getting lumps of coal for not pulling their weight?
Well readers, you’re in luck. We made a list and we checked it twice, so now you can find out who has been Naughty or Nice. Behold!
The Nice List:
Pac-12 record holder. Biletnikoff Award winner. Unanimous All-American. These are just a few adjectives that describe this sophomore wide receiver and the unforgettable season he had this year. Instead of simply rehashing his stats this, let’s take a look at some of his awe-inspiring moments:
Nellum suffered a gunshot wound to the leg in 2008, and was never supposed to run again at the collegiate level. The 400-meter runner essentially gave that prognosis the finger, fighting back to run again for USC in 2012. But he wasn’t satisfied with simply qualifying for the Pac-12 conference finals; Nellum continued to defy all odds and earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. He would go on to earn a silver medal as a part of Team USA’s 4x400m relay team, and was even given the honor of being the flag holder in the closing ceremony. All of this after enduring what should have been a career-ending injury.
Think about that the next time you “can’t” do something.
Cody Kessler and his friend, Nathan Garcia:
This redshirt freshman quarterback recently befriended Nathan Garcia, a teenage Trojan fan that was battling brain cancer. Both from Bakersfield, Kessler and Garcia spent much time together in November, and Garcia was even able to meet Lane Kiffin, Matt Barkley, and other Trojans will attending the USC/Notre Dame game. Sadly, Garcia lost his battle with cancer last week, but he was able to fulfill his 13th birthday wish, to organize a toy drive for sick and underprivileged kids. 3,000 toys were collected and will be donated in his honor.
The Men’s Water Polo Team:
Because when you set a record by winning four NCAA titles in a row in 2011 and then break that record when you win the NCAA title again in 2012, you deserve all the gifts in Santa’s sleigh. Head coach Jovan Vavic and his squad have been an unstoppable force in the water, and they have a hand full of rings to show it. And since the football team didn’t want to rise to the occasion this year, Trojan fans can hang their hat on this team of champions instead.
Felix dominated on the track during the London Olympics, earning a gold medal in each of her events, the 200m, the 4x100m relay and the 4x400m relay. She now has six gold medals to her name, and serves as an inspiration to all young lady Trojans who aspire to sports greatness. We recommend Santa bring her a mint for all that gold!
Like fellow lady Trojan Felix, Soni absolutely killed it in London. She earned a pair of gold medals in the 200m breaststroke and 400m medley relay, while earning a silver in the 100m breaststroke. A world record holder and six-time medalist in the Olympics, Soni is an absolute beast in the pool. Her efforts this year definitely put her in good graces with the big man in the red suit.
For staying on board with USC instead of taking a job offer with his Alma Mater, Tennessee. Loyalty is not something we see displayed from coaches to players in college football anymore, and we tip our hats to Coach Tee for showing us that it still exists.
Plus, he has a Heisman campaign to run for Marqise Lee in 2013; maybe Santa will deliver that next year.
These Trojans went above and beyond the call of duty this year, and for that they can expect all kids of great gifts when Santa Claus shimmies down their chimney.
To see which Trojans are more deserving of coal than gifts, check out The Naughty List.