USC Football: Uchenna Nwosu earns All-American honors

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images /

USC linebacker Uchenna Nwosu was named an All-American first teamer by Sports on Earth, becoming the Trojans 168th All-American.

It’s been a long and winding road at USC for senior captain Uchenna Nwosu, but it ends with a place on the Trojan’s All-American wall.

The outside linebacker was voted by Sports on Earth as a first team All-American alongside Georgia’s Roquan Smith and Iowa’s Josey Jewell.

Nwosu has been a disruptive force off the edge for USC, logging 9.5 tackles for loss including 7.5 sacks. His 13 pass break ups rank 11th nationally and first among linebackers.

The senior’s knack for making plays in critical moments has been a signature for the Trojans defensively all season. He grabbed a fumble out of the air at the opposing goal line against Cal and then nabbed an interception in the same area against Washington State. He broke up five passes against Stanford.

Most memorably, Nwosu provided the play which helped seal USC’s first Pac-12 title since 2008, sweeping in off the edge to stop Stanford running back Cameron Scarlett short on fourth down from the goal line in the conference championship game.

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For awhile, it looked like Nwosu’s Trojan career would never get off the ground. After playing on special teams as a freshman in 2014, he was sent home ahead of Trojans’ Holiday Bowl matchup with Nebraska and was not enrolled at USC for the spring semester in 2015. He returned to the squad in the fall and contributed as a backup that season before taking over a starting role in 2016.

Nwosu won the 2016 John McKay Award as the underclassman with the most competitive spirit after his promising first season as a starter. With All-American rumblings in the spring of 2017, the senior certainly lived up to the hype.

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USC running back Ronald Jones II also appeared on the Sports on Earth All-American second team. With first team honors from Pro Football Focus, Jones II will also be getting a plaque on USC’s All-American walk.