Jerseys Awarded On Merit and More USC Football News

Nov 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans former receiver Mike Williams leads players on the field during an NCAA football game against the UCLA Bruins at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans former receiver Mike Williams leads players on the field during an NCAA football game against the UCLA Bruins at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

With Notre Dame choosing to hand out certain jerseys by merit, what numbers could USC award on a year-to-year basis? Plus more USC football news.

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… You know its peak offseason when the biggest things to talk about revolve around jersey numbers.

USC has had some jersey news this week with freshmen getting their numbers and some intrigue around whether or not Cam Smith will wear No. 55.

Notre Dame came along Wednesday however to one-up the Trojans on the number discussion, revealing that they will award the No. 1 jersey to a different player each week this year. Single-digit jerseys No. 2-9 will also be handed out on a merit basis for the season.

Assigning coveted jersey numbers based on merit is a great policy, though changing a jersey from week to week sounds like more trouble than it is worth.

Trojan coaches haven’t enacted such policies but they’ve made jersey numbers a focus at times. Lane Kiffin pulled the No. 1 jersey out of circulation until a receiver proved themselves worthy of donning the number of Mike Williams.

Steve Sarkisian hoped that Cam Smith could bring the No. 35, the number of the late Scott Ross, back into prominence at linebacker.

In fact, each of USC’s 2015 linebacker recruits adopted jerseys of significance under Sarkisian with Osa Masina taking the No. 58 of Polynesian Trojan lore, John Houston picking up the No. 10 made special by Brian Cushing and Porter Gustin wearing Oscar Lua’s No. 45.

So would it make sense for the Trojans to institute a merit system for special jerseys like No. 1, No. 55 and No. 58?

On the one hand, reserving No. 1 for the top receiver on the roster each season would make for a fun competition each offseason. That same for No. 55 with the linebackers.

On the other hand, there’s something special about allowing a player to make their name in a single jersey, to always be associated with that jersey and that jersey alone.

And Ten USC Football and Basketball News Links…

  1. “The awkward time O.J. Simpson visited USC in 2002” (Fox Sports)Stewart Mandel tells the story of how O.J. Simpson showed up to one of USC’s Orange Bowl practices in 2002, from questions over whether the Trojans would welcome him to his friendly interaction with the team and Anthony Davis’ criticism of his presence.
  2. “USC offensive line is nation’s 2nd most experienced” (Reign of Troy)The Trojans have nine returning starters with 131 career starts between them on the offensive line, which is the second-best total in the nation as compiled by Phil Steele.
  3. “Better know a Pac-12 nonconference opponent: Notre Dame” (ESPN)Kyle Bonagura breaks down the Irish, who will face off with both USC and Stanford this season. As the last game of the season, the rivalry game at the Coliseum could have huge implications or represent only pride.
  4. “Stat burns: Each top 25 team’s best number to brag about” (ESPN)Having the nation’s toughest schedule is a rough draw, but the Trojans could use that schedule to their advantage if they win enough games to get into the CFB playoff conversation.
  5. “Every Top 25 Team’s Must Win Game of 2016” (Bleacher Report)Alabama and Stanford will headline USC’s opening month, but the final game of September against Utah is the Trojans’ must-win game of the season with the division title potentially on the line.
  6. “Breaking Down Each Teams’ Targets At The Opening” (Bleacher Report)USC commits Stephen Carr and Bubba Bolden will be on hand at Nike headquarters for The Opening along with targets like Tyjon Linsey, Joseph Lewis, Deommodore Lenoir, Jalen Hall, Najee Harris, Alex Leatherwood, Greg Rogers, Chase Young and Baron Browning.
  7. “CFB games that will have most future NFL players” (’s November clash with Notre Dame checks in at No. 16 while the season opener against Alabama is No. 5 of games which will feature the most pro talent this CFB season.
  8. “Pac-12 football preview: Top games of 2016” (College Hotline)If Jon Wilner could watch just ten games in the Pac-12 this year, three of them would involved the Trojans including USC vs. Alabama, Stanford, and Washington. (With an 11th pick being USC vs. UCLA)
  9. “4-Star DT Damion Daniels Drops Top 12 On Twitter” (College Spun)Four-star defensive tackle Damion Daniels, out of Dallas, posted his top 12 schools Tuesday, with USC joining UCLA, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Texas, Michigan, Mississippi State, LSU and UTSA.
  10. “Record 12 USC players selected in MLB Draft” ( Trojans had a disappointing 2016 but the 2016 MLB Draft was anything but disappointing with a record 12 USC players picked over the weekend.

Stat of the Day:

USC’s 131 returning career starts on the offensive line is 41 more than Utah, who ranks second in the Pac-12. That margin of 41 starts is more than Stanford returns in total.

Social Media Snapshot: