97 days to USC football: Jacob Lichtenstein could become best ever in No. 97

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

With 97 days until USC football returns, there are 97 days until Jacob Lichtenstein can take another step towards becoming the best No. 97 in Trojan history.

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The countdown to USC football continues this Sunday with 97 days left on the clock.

That’s 97 days of looking back at the past, present and future of the Trojans roster.

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This time, here’s a look at the history of the No. 97 jersey at USC:

Who wore it best?

Well this is awkward. Yesterday we looked at the No. 98 jersey and billed it perhaps the least heralded in USC history. It has serious competition though.

The No. 97 has not exactly produced much success at USC. In fact, Malik Jackson is arguably the most productive Trojan to wear the jersey…and he transferred away to Tennessee.

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As a freshman in 2008, Jackson played in eight games and had four takels, but two of those were sacks. He also forced a fumble and deflected a pass.

His potential was clear in 2009, when he had 3.5 sacks and 18 total tackles while again forcing a fumble and deflecting three passes.

Unfortunately for USC, that was the end of his involvement in cardinal and gold. He took advantage of NCAA sanctions to leave the Trojans without penalty to avoid the two-year bowl ban. He landed at Tennessee where, eligible immediately, he posted five sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 2010. As a senior in 2011, he added 11 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks to his tally.

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Who wears it now?

Not that it would take much to become the best ever to wear No. 97, but defensive lineman Jacob Lichtenstein is set up to make a run at it.

Lichtenstein was a three-star recruit in USC’s recruiting class of 2017. He had potential coming out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but he was always going to need some time to bulk up and make his mark.

In the past two years, first redshirting and then serving as a reserve lineman, Lichtenstein put on the pounds and now weighs in at 270 pounds.

Appearing in five games near the end of the 2018 season, Lichtenstein flashed in moments. He had 14 tackles, two tackles for loss and a pass break up.

Potential is still very much the name of the game, but he is now poised to play a major role in the coming campaign on the defensive line.

Stats to know: 97

  • USC’s scoring total in 1898 was 97 points. They allowed just 28.
  • George Achica was the 97th Trojan to be named an All-American. He was one of three consensus selections for USC in 1982, along with Bruce Matthews and Don Mosebar.
  • The longest pass play in USC was 97 yards from Matt Koffler to R. Jay Soward against Illinois in 1996.
  • Robert Woods’ career-long kickoff return in 2010 against Minnesota was 97 yards.
  • Matt Gee led USC in tackles in 1991 with 97 stops.

98 Days to Kickoff. Next