Former USC All-American Ryan Kalil will make his first Super Bowl appearance with the Carolina Panthers, representing the Trojans at Levi’s Stadium on February 7th.
Ryan Kalil, a two-time national champion with the Trojans, will have his shot at adding another championship to his resume at Super Bowl 50 as he anchors the Carolina offensive line against the Denver Broncos.
Now a five-time Pro Bowl selection, Kalil has been an integral part of the Panther’s offensive line since becoming the starting center in 2008, a year after being drafted by the team. With Kalil running the show, Carolina’s line gave up just 33 sacks this year. That’s a career-low for Cam Newton. With just 61 QB hits allowed, the team is also third in the NFL this season.
In order for Kalil to get to the big game, his team knocked out fellow Trojans Carson Palmer, Frostee Rucker and Matt Barkley in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, 49-15.
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Since there were no Trojans involved in the AFC Championship battle between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, Kalil is the lone representative for the Trojans playing in this year’s NFL title tilt. Former USC defensive lineman Wes Horton is on the Panther’s practice squad.
USC has gone unrepresented in just five Super Bowls going back 49 years to 1967. After a two-year appearance drought from 2012 to 2013, linebacker Malcolm Smith became just the third Trojan ever to be named the Super Bowl MVP in 2014, joining the Steelers’ Lynn Swann and the Raiders’ Marcus Allen, as the Seahawks routed the Broncos.
Last year, Smith and fellow linebacker Michael Morgan were the two Trojans in the Super Bowl along with former head coach Pete Carroll, though they were beaten in the final seconds by the Patriots.