USC Football: Which Trojan Can Be Called Mr. USC?


The sports world lost a gentle soul and all-time legend earlier this year when Ernie Banks passed away at the age of 83.

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Despite hitting more than 500 home runs during his career, Banks was most well know known as Mr. Cub. He was the embodiment of what the Chicago Cubs are and always have been, and a perfect ambassador for the team he played for.

In tribute to the legacy that Banks left behind, we at Reign of Troy asked ourselves who in the history of the football program could be called Mr. USC.

The Trojans have had seven players win the Heisman Trophy, dozens of All-Americans and first-round draft picks, in addition to Hall of Fame coaches with multiple national championships.

Who embodies what USC football is all about?

Anthony Davis says Michael Castillo

For someone to be deemed Mr. USC, they need be iconic as an individual, while still being identified predominantly as a Trojan. That man is Anthony Davis, a three-year starter at tailback from 1972 to 1974 that became one of the most beloved players in school history.

Davis was on a pair of national championship football under John McKay while at USC, in addition to winning three College World Series titles on Rod Dedeadux’s legendary Trojan baseball teams of ’70s.

No player in school history has loved being a Trojan more than Anthony Davis.

But despite being a winner in every sense of the word, it’s how Davis carried himself then and now that make him the ideal Mr. USC.

No player in school history had a bigger moments, seen in his six-touchdown performance against Notre Dame in 1972 and his Heisman-worthy comeback-igniting four-touchdown game against the same Fighting Irish two years later.

And perhaps no player in school history has loved being a Trojan more than Davis. He’s been a constant ambassador for the program and seen at events for years, as one of the most accessible super stars in the school’s history. That’s what Mr. USC is all about.

Pat Haden says Nick Cox

In my mind, Pat Haden is the embodiment of USC, both on and off the field. You can forgive him for being a color commentator for Notre Dame, but everything else in his career has been defined by excellence.

His non-athletic accomplishments would impress anyone on their own. A Rhodes Scholar coming out of High School, Haden practiced as an attorney for seven years and was a partner in a private equity firm for twenty three years, all while working as a commentator for various television networks.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

We all know that with him leading the team at the quarterback position, USC won two national championships and contended to win a third. But, this has overshadowed his success in the NFL.

Though he was not a prolific passer, he was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1977 and led the Los Angeles Rams to the playoffs as a starter for three consecutive years in the late 1970’s, including two NFC Championship game appearances.

A man that had already done so much good for USC and its reputation had no obligation to come back and help his alma mater rebuild after the 2010 NCAA sanctions, but the fact that he did, and his success doing it, has solidified him as Mr. USC.

He may be criticized for some of his decisions as athletic director, but what he has accomplished with the hand he was dealt is truly impressive. Many other great Trojans could represent the title of Mr. USC well, but none deserve it quite as much as Pat Haden.

Matt Leinart says Alicia de Artola

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Moreover, he was a California boy through and through, with shaggy hair and stubble to go along with Hollywood good looks.

There may have been incredible talent around him, but Leinart was the face of USC for those three years and remains one of the most important figures in Trojan lore.

Now, he is involved in charity work and broadcasting. And it was Leinart who led the Trojans onto the field when USC demolished Notre Dame last year.

Who is Mr. USC?

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