96 days to USC football: Hope for Caleb Tremblay delivering in 2019

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

USC football has hopes of defensive lineman Caleb Tremblay living up to his potential out of junior college with 96 days until kickoff.

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The 2019 USC football season is creeping closer and closer. Monday marks just 96 days until kickoff at the Coliseum against Fresno State on August 31.

What can the Trojans look forward to in the coming season? It certainly would help if they could depend on the man in No. 96 as much going forward as they have in the past.

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To pass the time until the season opener, here’s a look back at the No. 96 jersey, past and present:

Who wore it best?

Surprisingly enough, the No. 96 jersey has never been worn by an All-American at USC, but two Trojans came agonizingly close.

Darrell Russell did it first from the defensive tackle position in the mid-1990s.

Russell was the 1996 Morris Trophy winner, the best lineman in the Pac-12 as voted by other linemen. It’s easy to see why. He had 19 tackles for loss and nine sacks while rushing from the interior that season. For context, that TFL total was better than any achieved by Mike Patterson or Leonard Williams.

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Lawrence Jackson had similar success in the No. 96, also without making his way onto the All-American Walk.

A four-year starter, including as a freshman during USC’s national title run in 2004, Jackson was a two-time USC Defensive Lineman of the Year.

His exceptional play continued throughout his four years of starting and he capped it all with 17 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 2007.

Jackson tied the USC single-game record with four sacks against ASU.

Who wears it now?

Caleb Tremblay picked up the No. 96 jersey when he transferred to USC out of junior college in 2018.

Hopes were high for the 6-foot-5, 270 lineman, especially after a promising Spring Camp showing. Unfortunately, after logging two tackles in the first three games of the year, he suffered a knee sprain which kept him out of action for the remainder of the year.

Injury once again kept Tremblay out during Spring Camp in 2019, so it remains to be seen exactly where he fits into the Trojan defensive front.

MORE: Projecting USC’s 2019 depth chart

USC returns solid depth up front, but Tremblay brings a certain amount of versatility along with his explosiveness off the line. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast plans to use him in the defensive tackle position. The possibility for him to shift across the line as needed remains.

Availability notwithstanding, Tremblay could be a real difference maker as a member of the rotation on the defensive front, especially as the Trojans look to deploy a heftier four-man front.

Stats to know: 96

  • Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews was the 96th All-American in USC history.
  • The longest play from scrimmage in USC history was 96 yards, a run broken off by LaVale Woods against Oregon State in 1996.
  • The longest punt return in USC history was recorded at 96 yards by Curtis Conway in 1992 against Oregon.
  • Heisman-winning running back Reggie Bush’s career-long kickoff return went for 96 yards in 2003 against UCLA.
  • Heisman-winning running back Mike Garrett led USC with 96 points on 16 touchdowns in 1965.
  • All-American safety Taylor Mays led USC with 96 tackles in 2009.

Next. 97 Days to Kickoff