USC Football Team Awards: Sam Darnold, Uchenna Nwosu named MVPs

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images /

Quarterback Sam Darnold and linebacker Uchenna Nwosu were named MVPs of USC Football’s 2017 season at the annual team awards banquet on Wednesday.

USC Football’s bowl prep is always accompanied by the annual awards banquet, honoring the best and brightest of the Trojans each season.

This year, quarterback Sam Darnold and outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu took the top honor, named joint Most Valuable Players for 2017.

Darnold led the Trojan offense with 3,787 yards and 26 touchdowns while completing 63.7 percent during his redshirt sophomore season. His exceptional leadership and uncanny ability to make plays in the biggest of moments were critical aspects of USC’s success.

On the defensive side of the ball, Nwosu was pegged as one of the key Trojans to take a major leap forward in his senior season and he lived up to those expectations.

The defensive captain has logged 71 tackles in 2017, including 9.5 tackles for loss with 7.5 sacks and a team-best eight quarterback hurries. As a disruptive force on the edge, Nwosu led all linebackers nationally with 13 pass breakups, adding an interception to his name.

USC’s Perimeter Players of the Year were running back Ronald Jones II and middle linebacker Cameron Smith while the Special Teams Player of the Year Award was shared by safety Matt Lopes and receiver Michael Pittman.

Left guard Chris Brown and defensive end Rasheem Green took home the Linemen of the Year Award on offense and defense respectively.

Blind longsnapper Jake Olson was honored as the team’s Most Inspirational Player as he lived his dream of snapping in live action for the Trojans.

Redshirt senior captain Chris Hawkins came away with the Trojan Way Leadership Award and the Player of the Game vs. UCLA award. In fact, Hawkin’s great leadership was at a peak against the Bruins, when he posted 10 tackles and a sack.

The Trojan Commitment Award for 2017 went to veteran offensive linemen Nico Falah and Viane Talamaivao.

Wide receiver Deontay Burnett received the Bob Chandler Award as the underclassman with the most outstanding athletic ability, academic achievement and character.

Defensive lineman Josh Fatu picked up the John McKay Award as the player with the most competitive spirit.

The Chris Carlisle Courage Award went to offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn and receiver Steven Mitchell after both battled back from devastating knee injuries.

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Though they didn’t see the field in 2017, center Richie Wenzel, defensive end Jacob Lichtenstein and defensive tackle Jay Tufele proved their contribution to the team’s success with the Service Team Players of the Year tag.

Unsurprisingly, walk-on punter Reid Budrovich and kicker Chase McGrath matched their accomplishment winning starting jobs by winning the Joe Collins Walk-on Award as well.

Offensive lineman Jordan Austin, who was nominated for the Allstate Good Works Team, was also recognized with the Community Service Award.

Another award for off-the-field accomplishment, the Howard Jones/Football Alumni Club Academic Award, was handed to cornerback Yoofi Quansah.

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Finally, Darnold, Falah, Lobendahn, Nwosu, Smith and safety Marvell Tell accepted the Lifters Award.