Pac-12 Full of Defensive Stars and More USC Football News


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

1st & 10:

First Take…Take a look at the history of the Pac-12, and you’ll notice a recurring theme. It’s called offense.

The conference’s most iconic players all came to be stars while scoring points. Whether it was Reggie Bush, Jim Plunkett or Troy Aikman, the identity of the Pac-12 dating back decades has been rooted in the stereotype of it being a finesse league loaded with prolific passers and aerial assaults.

Even recently, the Pac-12 only trends on Twitter during #Pac12AfterDark, which is full of yards, dozens of points and countless refereeing gaffes.

But perhaps that’s all changing. Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota has moved onto the NFL. UCLA’s Brett Hundley is backing up Aaron Rodgers. And Stanford hasn’t seemed to be able to replace Stepfan Taylor quite yet.

For the first time in seemingly ever, the Pac-12 enters the season with a majority of its stars playing on defense. And it’s being reflected by national countdowns everywhere.

From FanSided to ESPN to Pro Football Focus to Grantland, every publication is noting their top players, and every publication is constantly mentioning Arizona’s Scooby Wright, USC’s tandem of Su’a Cravens and Adoree’ Jackson, and UCLA’s Myles Jack.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

All four look to be All-Americans and all four are pound for pound the best players in the entire conference, with no disrespect to Cody Kessler or Jared Goff.

The rise of star defenders won’t stop the high-octane Pac-12 offenses from putting up big numbers, but at least the conference’s defenses are finally getting the respect they’ve long deserved.

It’s refreshing, because the game is evolving and fans and media alike are dissecting it different ways. A decade ago, Scooby Wright wouldn’t get face time if his team gave up 30 points, because the narrative was that big scores meant bad defenses, especially in the soft Pac-10.

We know that’s not entirely true now, with the rise of highly efficient spread offenses. And that teams that gave up 28.2 points per game and 25.2 points per game aren’t entirely flawed defensively when compared to the stereotypes of the SEC.

Those teams have names now, with players that have faces. They’re Arizona and USC, with guys like Scooby Wright and Su’a Cravens leading the way.

And Ten USC Football Links…

  1. VICE Sports: Good news! The long wait for the return of EA Sports’s NCAA Football series might be coming to an end. Well, maybe. Hopefully.
  2. Neon Tommy: USC has a lot to live up to in 2015, but will they? Paolo Uggetti eyes the Trojans’ hype this season following Pac-12 Media Days.
  3. Isaac Nauta is a highly coveted 2016 tight end who stresses family. Could some nearby family help USC out?
  4. Fight On 247: Tuesday was a sad day for the Men of Troy as former two-time All-American basketball center John Rudometkin passed away at the age of 75.
  5. ESPN: Adoree’ Jackson wore a Superman S on his chest at Serra High. So it’s fitting that Ted Miller would start his feature of Jackson with a superhero comparison.
  6. Deadspin: You probably won’t have a hard time staying up to watch what would should be a fun year of Pac-12 football. But Deadspin wants to make sure you know to drink your coffee.
  7. ESPN: In counting down the top 100 players in college football, ESPN has stumbled across a couple of Trojans. It’s center Max Tuerk at No. 46 and JuJu Smith at No. 47.
  8. Galen Central: In a bit of a shakeup on the hardwood, Seth Rubinroit reports that USC is losing senior Chass Bryan to a transfer.
  9. Reign of Troy: Controversy was brewing following Steve Sarkisian’s supposed shot at Oregon about their uniforms. But did he really take a jab at them? Our Josh Webb says nope.
  10. Reign of Troy: Jimi Hendrix is an all-time rock ‘n’ roll god. But did you know he’s also an artist? Baseball writer Joe Posnanski tweeted out pictures of drawing Little Jimi drew of a USC football player.

Stat of the Day:

“Last year, Jackson had 49 tackles on defense with 10 deflections, quickly establishing himself as a shutdown corner. On offense, he turned 10 receptions into three touchdowns. Two of his 23 kickoff returns went for scores.” – via Ted Miller of ESPN

Tweets of the Day:

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