95 days to USC football: Trevor Trout waiting in the wings

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

There are 95 days until USC football, which calls to mind the No. 95 jersey, a number with an out-of-state legacy that could be carried on by Trevor Trout.

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USC football’s 2019 season will kickoff in 95 short days.

There are a lot of things that can be done over the coming months of waiting, but examining the past and present of the No. 95 Trojan jersey is on the cards today.

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It’s not one of USC’s greatest numbers, but it has it’s charm, and potential:

Who wore it best?

From 1975 to 1977, Walt Underwood wore the No. 95 jersey with distinction.

The defensive tackle was an unlikely addition for USC, growing up in the shadow of the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. He spurned the more local option to travel across the country to join John McKay’s Trojans.

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Though Underwood received the Trojan Club Award as USC’s most improved player and shared top-performer honors with Ricky Bell against UCLA in 1975, he struggled with homesickness early in his career. He also couldn’t really find a position. The Trojans tried him out at nose guard, linebacker and tight end before the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder ended up playing defensive tackle.

Matters weren’t helped when McKay left for the NFL the year after Underwood arrived.

Still Underwood found a way to thrive. He blocked an extra point in the 1977 Rose Bowl to cap his sophomore campaign and then entered his junior year as a Playboy preseason All-American.

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That season he led the team in fumbles recovered en route to an all-conference nod and an All-American honorable mention from UPI.

Head coach John Robinson gave Underwood his vote of approval, not just as a player, but as a person.

“Walt is the most-loved player I’ve ever been around,” Robinson was quoted in the Independent Press-Telegram in 1977. “I think it’s because he cares so much for the problems and cares of others.”

Who wears it now?

Kenny Bigelow was supposed to bring the jersey to glory, but his career didn’t go as planned.

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Now, the responsibility falls to Trevor Trout, a former four-star nose tackle prospect out of Ferguson, Missouri.

The 6-foot-4, 310-pound lineman redshirted in 2018 and didn’t get the chance to establish himself in Spring Camp earlier this year because of a back injury and bicep tear.

Given USC’s nose tackle depth going into 2019, including Marlon Tuipulotu and Brandon Pili, Trout won’t be expected to star this year. However, it won’t be long until those players are looking ahead to their NFL future. The quicker Trout develops, the better for the Trojans.

He has all the qualities Clancy Pendergast and company could hope for in a space-eating nose tackle. What he needs is the time to settle himself into the rotation.

If USC does a better job of building and maintaining leads, there could be some valuable experience for Trout to gain this season.

Stats to know: 95

  • Offensive tackle Don Mosebar was USC’s 95th All-American in 1982, alongside Bruce Matthews and George Achica.
  • Tom Malone hit 95 punts inside the 20-yard line during his Trojan career.
  • Lynn Swann had 95 career receptions during his All-American career at USC, totaling 1,562 yards and 11 touchdowns.
  • Mike Williams caught 95 passes in 2003 while setting USC’s school record with 16 touchdowns. He had 1,314 yards on the year.
  • Reggie Bush had 95 career receptions for 1,301 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also had 95 receiving yards on six receptions against Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl.
  • Hayes Pullard led USC with 95 tackles in 2014.
  • USC managed just 95 passing yards in the 1992 Freedom Bowl.
  • The longest pass play by a Trojan opponent, which totaled 95 yards, belongs to Arizona State quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst and receiver Aaron Cox.

Next. 96 Days to Kickoff