Offensive lineman Zach Banner got his teammates to sign a ball for an Army Ranger injured in Afghanistan, plus USC football news from around the web.
Can’t get enough USC football and basketball 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… Zach Banner has talked about embracing more of a leadership role as he returns for his final season at USC in 20116, but he’s not limiting that to on the field leadership. The offensive tackle organized to have his teammates sign a ball for injured Army Ranger Oliver Campbell, who is recovering from gunshot wounds he sustained on duty in Afghanistan.
On Instagram Banner explained how he came to learn about Campbell, who is a USC fan:
"Last Thursday my little brother Xavier had told me that one of his classmates’ dad had reached out to him and told him that SGT Oliver Campbell, 2D Ranger Battalion had been shot several times in his chest while serving and is in critical condition. Apparently Oliver and his family are huge USC fans, and they wanted me to reach out to him. I bought this ball the other day and had my team sign it for him. We will send it to your family ASAP brotha and keep fighting man! Thank you to Oliver, and the rest of those that serve to protect our country! #FightOn"
Campbell was shot four times in January in Afghanistan’s Paktika province. His lung nearly collapsed, the stretcher to get him off the ground broke and his heart stopped on route to a medical facility, according to The News Tribune.
Now recovering at Walter Reed Military Medical Center, Campbell is doing well and is undergoing physical therapy. Hopefully the gesture from the men of Troy will give him a boost as he continues his recovery.
And Ten USC Football and Basketball News Links…
- CBS Sports: Dennis Dodd names five candidates for USC’s open athletic director job — Steve Lopes, Mark Jackson, J.K. McKay, Stanford AD Bernard Muir and Arizona AD Greg Byrne
- ESPN: Greg Katz runs down the recruiting successes USC has achieved in the state of Florida over the last 15 years, including landing Mike Williams, Keith Rivers, Leonard Williams and Nelson Agholor.
- Sports Illustrated: Of the new head coaches on the college football landscape, Clay Helton landed the second best first class behind only Kirby Smart of Georgia.
- Athlon Sports: What five things did we learn about the Pac-12 on Signing Day? USC still runs the show, but successes also raise the stakes.
- Saturday Blitz: 2017’s top prospect Dylan Moses named Alabama as his top school, but USC is in the mix along with Texas, Georgia, Florida and UCLA.
- SB Nation: Bill Connelly’s projected rankings for S&P+ have USC at No. 8 nationally.
- ESPN: USC officially has the toughest schedule in the country next year, according to ESPN at least.
- Reign of Troy: USC basketball continues to rise up the bracketology projections. The latest predictions put them as high as a No. 4 seed.
- Reign of Troy: After a two week absence, the Trojans are back in the AP Top 25.
- RipsIt Blog: USC’s celebration of Black History continues with an interview with Sam Cunningham on the Trojans upcoming match up with Alabama.
Stat of the Day:
Two All-Americans have worn the No. 73 jersey at USC — Elmer Willhoite and Tony Slaton. Zach Banner aspires to be the third in 2016.