USC Football: Trojans 2017 midseason All-American round up

Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images /

With midseason All-American teams popping up around the web, USC Football had several players, including Cameron Smith, receive halfway-point accolades.

USC Football produced three All-Americans in 2016 and the Trojans are on the way towards adding at least one more plaque to the All-American wall in 2017.

Junior linebacker Cameron Smith remains USC’s best shot having secured midseason All-American honors from CBS Sports’ panel of voters.

Smith was one of just six unanimous selections, taking a linebacker spot along side Josey Jewell of Iowa and Joel Lanning of Iowa State.

The preseason All-American leads USC with 62 tackles this year, ranking second in the Pac-12. He has also added 6.5 tackles for loss and an interception.

He joined USC opponents like Stanford running back Bryce Love, Washington State defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa and offensive lineman Cody O’Connell. Upcoming opponent Notre Dame was also represented by offensive lineman Quenton Nelson.

A panel of 16 voters for the AP agreed on Love, Mata’afa, O’Connell and Nelson as midseason All-Americans but did not include Smith on their first team.

In fact, the only Trojan to make the cut for the AP was defensive end Christian Rector, as a second-team selection.

Before the season, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone predicting All-American talk around Rector. He wasn’t even a starter for the Trojans until Week 4 when Porter Gustin was sidelined by injury.

Despite just four starts under his belt, Rector has the numbers to warrant the recognition. He is tied with Mata’afa for the Pac-12 lead in sacks with 6.5. That’s good for third nationally. He also leads the conference in fumble recoveries.

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Midseason honors aren’t limited to just All-American teams. Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News released his midseason All-Pac-12 team this week, naming four Trojans to the first team and seven to the second team.

Wide receiver Deontay Burnett headlines USC’s first team selections on offense. The Trojan receiver has hauled in 49 catches for 626 yards and six touchdowns. His receiving scores rank second in the conference.

On defense, outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, cornerback Jack Jones and safety Chris Hawkins represent the Trojans. Nwosu’s eight pass breakups are tops among linebackers in 2017. Jones has four interceptions already, putting him ninth nationally and second in the Pac-12. Finally, Hawkins has 39 tackles, an interception, a key tackle for loss against Utah, and two pass breakups.

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USC’s second team selections include Rector, Smith and cornerback Iman Marshall. Offensively, quarterback Sam Darnold, running back Ronald Jones II, tight end Tyler Petite and tackle Toa Lobendahn got the nod.