No player in modern college football has had a bigger impact on the game than Reggie Bush. He set records, won a Heisman Trophy, lost said Heisman Trophy and is still a star on YouTube despite being banned by the NCAA from having any association with his alma mater USC.
Yet despite a disappointing NFL career, devastating sanctions leveled against the Trojans on his account, and a portion of USC fans hating every fiber of his being, Bush has been the program’s most underrated recruiter over the last decade without speaking a single word.
Adoree’ Jackson has long been vocal with his appreciation of Bush, while Ronald Jones II told reporters that Bush was his idol growing up in Texas, leading him half way across the country to his ‘dream school,’ where he will suit up in No. 25. There’s no question who inspired that number choice.
If anything, it shows the power of childhood memories in upholding the Utopian ideal of USC’s glorious peak, as opposed to the drama-rich seasons since the Trojans were stung by the Bush sanctions.
But it has to come to end at some point, right?
Recruits may be able to re-live Bush’s thrashing of Fresno State on their iPhones, but there’s nothing stopping them from doing the same with much newer and current players like Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, or even UCLA’s two-way star Myles Jack.
It only makes sense that the further removed Bush becomes, the less he impacts USC’s relevancy in recruiting, right?
If Wednesday night is any indication, it’s getting harder to agree with that reasonable assertion.
USC picked up their third commitment in the 2017 recruiting class in the form of highly regarded four-star cornerback Thomas Graham.
He wasted no time committing after getting an offer from the Trojans last week, having called USC his ‘dream school’. He’s from Rancho Cucamonga, so it makes sense that the Trojans could be that.
But you see, Graham is just 16 and is originally from Arizona. He was four-years-old when Reggie Bush enrolled at USC and six by the time Bush finished his collegiate career with an ill-fated lateral to Brad Walker.
No way Bush had an impact here, right? Wrong, according to Scout’s Greg Biggins.
There’s Bush being USC’s wingman once again, to a kid that was in Kindergarten when No. 5 last suited up to play college football. And to a kid that’s so young that he himself is two years out from playing college football.
So again, at what point does Bush’s impact go away? What has to happen for recruits to never mention him as any sort of factor in what dream drew them towards USC in any degree? Does another player need to eclipse him in fanfare, appeal and relevance?
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers
Until it happens, we may not know. And until it happens, recruits will keep speaking of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Unless they’re from Serra, they’re not mentioning Robert Woods. And no one is coming to USC because of Tailback U’s original band of heroes like Garrett, Simpson, Davis, Bell, White or Allen.
It’s almost as if his exile has made him more appealing. He’s gone from a legend in time, to a mythical creature spoken of only in soft undertones.
So maybe the question we ought to be wondering is what happens if Bush is allowed to come back out of the shadows?