Throwback Thursday: Justin Fargas, The Last Big 10 Transfer


USC found a way to make headlines once again when Penn State running back Silas Redd decided to capitalize on his “Get Out Of Sanctions Free” card and transfer to USC. There is all kinds of excitement surrounding Redd and what he is poised to contribute to the Trojan ground attack, a position that has been noticeably shallow since Curtis McNeal took over from Marc Tyler last season and shocked us all with what he could do when you a put a ball in his hands.

After it became official that Redd would transfer to USC, we pointed out on Twitter that this is not the first time this squad has opened the gates of Troy for a player from the Big 10. In fact, the last time USC accepted a transfer from that conference, the Trojans had a share in the Pac-10 title and featured a Heisman-winning quarterback.

That athlete? Justin Fargas.

Fargas came to USC from Michigan in 2002, where had played for three years. In his freshman season in 1998, he was named one of the Top 10 Freshman by Sports Illustrated. That year he ran for 277 yards and one touchdown on 77 carries, in 10 games. He continued to be the starting running back for the Wolverines until the middle of the 2000 season, when he was moved to the other side of the ball to play safety.

His Michigan career was curtailed when, in 1999, he suffered a broken a leg. He then redshirted that season while he healed, but his days as a Wolverine were over.

Shortly after Fargas elected to transfer, and initially looked at Cal and USC before ultimately returning to his native Southern California. He had to sit out the 2001 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but the next year he had his time to shine.

In 2002, his final season of college ball, Fargas went to work. He rushed for 715 yards on 161 carries, averaging 4.4 yards per touch. For a team that was very much a passing offense (Carson Palmer set the season passing record that year after all, with 3942 yards), Fargas was integral to USC’s lethal ground attack, finishing second to Sultan McCullough.

If we take history into account, then USC’s recent acquisition of Silas Redd is an incredibly good omen. Pick up a Big 10 running back…win a title and a Heisman. Could it be purely coincidence? Sure, but we at Reign of Troy like to believe that the football gods are Trojans.

In 2012, let’s hope lighting can strike the same place twice.