USC Football Roundup: Defensive representatives only at Media Day (6/12)

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images /

Cameron Smith and Porter Gustin will represent the Trojans at Pac-12 Media Day while the weekend added a preferred walk-on QB commit. Here’s the USC football roundup for June 12.

This year’s Pac-12 Media Day on July 25 will feature, as always, a pair of representatives from the USC football team. Unlike previous years, however, the Trojans will not bring along one player from both sides of the ball.

In 2018, it’s all about the defense for USC with linebackers Cameron Smith and Porter Gustin slated to attend alongside head coach Clay Helton.

Teams are not required to have a representative for the offense and defense, though that’s how it has been for the Trojans in the past. Last year, Smith was accompanied by Sam Darnold. The year before that, Zach Banner and Adoree’ Jackson provided interesting interview opportunities. Su’a Cravens and Cody Kessler turned up for the 2015 edition of Media Days.

The decision to bring Smith and Gustin is an interesting one which reflects back on USC’s team identity over the last two seasons.

CHECK OUT: USC’s defense expecting a big leap from Year 2 to Year 3

When it came time to pick captains for the 2017 squad, instead of the tradition two-and-two split, the Trojans went with three defenders, Smith, Chris Hawkins and Uchenna Nwosu, and just one offensive player, Darnold.

Here again is a sign of more established leadership roles on defense, or a dearth of them on offense.

Granted, with the departure of Darnold, Ronald Jones II and Deontay Burnett, the offense is lacking many of it’s central figures from 2017.

MORE: USC’s five most irreplaceable players for 2018

Still, for two years running the Trojans appear heavily skewed towards defensive when it comes to major personalities on the team. It’s no surprise then, for all their issues limiting big plays, it was USC’s defense in 2017 which most often shouldered responsibility for the team’s performance.

Center Toa Lobendahn and tight end Tyler Petite could have been considered candidates for Media Day to present a voice for the offense, but instead, the defense will take center stage.

A focus on defense is no bad thing, especially one with as much potential as USC’s boasts. But the Trojans can’t afford the offense to take a back seat when the season starts.

Preferred walk-on commit

USC added another quarterback on Monday with the commitment of Scott Harris. The Fairfax-product will join the class of 2019 as a preferred walk-on, per Chris Trevino of

SEE ALSO: Ranking USC’s 10 best quarterbacks

Harris threw for 1,919 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first season as a starter last year. A dual-threat, he also ran for 253 yards and seven touchdowns.

Frostee Rucker’s last stand

As pointed out by Gary Paskwietz of, former USC defensive lineman Frostee Rucker is now the last man standing in the NFL of the Trojans who contributed to the 34-game winning streak which spanned 2003 through 2005.

Rucker signed with the Oakland raiders, extending his career into a 13th season.

Deontay Burnett shines with Titans

It was a surprise to see receiver Deontay Burnett go unpicked in the 2018 NFL Draft. It’s no surprise to hear reports of him making a name for himself as the Tennessee Titans minicamp kicked off on Tuesday.

Jim Wyatt of Titans Online reported that Burnett was catching the ball well on Tuesday and had impressed during offseason work along with fellow undrafted free agents Jordan Veasy and Devin Ross.

TRENDING: Does USC have a real Heisman candidate?

Will that result in a roster spot for Burnett? Time will tell.

Unconnected coaches? proprietor Ryan Abraham’s tweet speaks for itself…

Trojan Trivia

Junior Seau’s 20-year NFL career ranks as the longest for a Trojan in the pros. A total of 65 Projans have enjoyed 10 or more years in the league.