NCAA Madness with Jake Olson, Todd McNair and More USC Football News


Can’t get enough USC football? We’ve got your morning dose of all the best content from around the web concerning the men of Troy.

1st & 10:

First Take…Yesterday, ESPN aired a tear-jerking video of reporter Shelley Smith and fellow cancer survivor Jake Olson taking a stroll down memory lane.

From their first meeting, when Smith was interviewing Pete Carroll, who insisted Olson join in, to Olson’s time spent with the USC football team before the loss of his sight, then Smith’s own cancer diagnosis, their intertwined stories are both heartbreaking and uplifting.

But the story also produces another feeling. You see, Olson has defied all odds by playing high school football as the long snapper for Orange Lutheran despite his lack of sight. And with entrance to USC secured, he is en route to defy even more odds — as a member of the Trojan football team.

As Smith narrates in ESPN’s feature, Olson will suit up in Cardinal and Gold and run out of the Coliseum tunnel…”if the NCAA clears him.”

It is infuriating that such a caveat exists.

That’s right, Jake Olson, the blind long snapper, needs NCAA clearance to play for USC because he has a scholarship, non-athletic though it may be, which means he cannot be considered a walk-on. Since the Trojans have no more initial counters free, he has to apply for a waiver in order to join up this year.

We’ve known this since April, when the news of Olson’s intentions to join the team were made known, but in the light of other NCAA news, the reminder still grates.

Last night, another 256 documents relating to the NCAA investigation against USC were released, thanks to a new brief filed by Todd McNair’s attorneys.

While there is certainly more to come, here’s a brief taste of what is included:

It’s safe to say the McNair situation and NCAA hating will not be slowing down any time soon, especially when you consider the relatively lenient penalties the Committee on Infractions was considering before the involvement of non-voting members changed their tune.

Click here for more coverage on the McNair document dump.

And Ten Links…

  1. NBC Sports: Keith Arnold sat down with Ryan Abraham from to talk USC football, including discussions of the Trojan beat down over Notre Dame last year, playoff contention, Cody Kessler and Steve Sarkisian.
  2. OC Register: Unsurprisingly, it’s Su’a Cravens who tops Michael Lev’s ranking of the most valuable Trojans for 2015.
  3. Saturday Blitz: Patrick Schmidt predicts an 11-1 record for USC this season in his 2015 preview of the Trojans, including a Pac-12 championship and playoff berth.
  4. LA Times: Rasheem Green will line up at defensive end for USC, competing for playing time with fellow freshman Noah Jefferson. As Lindsey Thiry notes in her player preview, one of the two will play while the other will likely redshirt.
  5. ESPN: John Plattenburg was an unexpected starter at safety last season. Now he is emerging as one of the leaders in the secondary.
  6. ESPN: Doctors have told Chad Wheeler that he is on pace to be ready for full-contact drills by the start of fall camp.
  7. No 2-Minute Warning: Kyle Kensing previews Pac-12 media day for this podcast.
  8. Reign of Troy: JuJu Smith got left off the Biletnikoff Award watch list for 2015, which seems like an oversight given his solid freshman numbers and incredible talent.
  9. Reign of Troy: Four-star cornerback Jordan Parker is a UCLA commit no longer, opening the door for USC to collect their second Bruin flip of the recruiting season.
  10. Reign of Troy: Don’t look now, but USC is reportedly shopping naming rights for the Coliseum.

Stat of the Day:

JuJu Smith’s 123 receiving yards versus Fresno State in 2014 were the most by any Trojan first-year freshman in a season opener.

Tweet of the Day:

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