99 days to USC football: Drake Jackson looks like the next great lineman

RoT Countdown / Photo by Alicia de Artola (Reign of Troy)
RoT Countdown / Photo by Alicia de Artola (Reign of Troy) /

USC football’s 2019 season is officially 99 days away, so it’s time for a celebration of the Trojans No. 99 jersey and Drake Jackson.

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It’s Countdown to Kickoff Time! The 100-day threshold has been crossed and now, the 2019 season is firmly in sight.

That means it’s almost time for USC football to get the bad taste of the 2018 season out of their mouths. Of course, almost is the key word there.

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In the meantime, with 99 days left until the Trojans season opener, here’s a look at the past, present and future of the No. 99 jersey:

Who wore it best?

The No. 99 jersey isn’t the most heralded in USC history, but it has been worn by a couple of USC’s greatest defenders of all-time.

Two Trojans have gone onto USC’s All-American Wall in the No. 99: Tim Ryan and Mike Patterson.

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Ryan did it twice in his heralded career from 1986 to 1989. His final campaign in cardinal and gold is unmatched for a Trojan defensive tackle. He holds the single-season record with 28 tackles for loss.

Patterson did the jersey proud from 2001 to 2004. His 16 tackles for loss in 2004 helped USC win the national title under Pete Carroll.

Most recently, Oluwole Betiku was expected to revive the jersey as a five-star prospect, but he ultimately disappointed and transferred to Illinois this offseason.

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Who wears it now?

Drake Jackson hasn’t even worn the No. 99 in a game officially yet, but he already feels like a star.

That’s in part because of his outrageous highlight during USC’s Spring Camp. While rushing off the edge, he read the quarterback’s intentions, stuck out a big paw and intercepted a pass one-handed, returning it for a touchdown.

Highlights are great, but Jackson’s play in Spring Camp should have fans even more excited. He impressed his way into first team reps, even earning comparisons from Clay Helton and Clancy Pendergast to Leonard Williams and Rasheem Green.

Expectations will be high, but the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder appears to have what it takes to shine early.

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Stats to know: 99

  • Linebacker Jack Del Rio was USC’s 99th All-American.
  • Charles White earned Rose Bowl MVP honors in 1979 with 99 yards rushing and a touchdown.
  • Mike Williams led all receivers with 99 yards on six catches in the 2003 Orange Bowl.
  • Matt Leinart finished his career with 99 career passing touchdowns.
  • Reggie Bush had 99 plays of 20-plus yards in his career.
  • The longest interception return in USC history was 99 yards by Bud Langley against Notre Dame in 1936.
  • The longest fumble return in USC history was 99 yards by Tim McDonald against Baylor in 1986.

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