94 days to USC football: Leonard Williams is the king of No. 94

RoT Countdown / Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images (Reign of Troy)
RoT Countdown / Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images (Reign of Troy) /

With 94 days until USC football returns, it’s the perfect time to pay tribute to the jersey worn by greats like Kenechi Udeze and Leonard Williams.

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The 2019 USC football season is one day closer, with only 94 days between the Trojans and their date with Fresno State at the Coliseum.

In the meantime, why not consider the history of the No. 94 Trojan jersey, which has been filled by some of the biggest and best defensive linemen in USC lore.

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Here’s a look at the No. 94, the jersey and the numbers behind it:

Who wore it best?

With three All-Americans to have worn the No. 94, it stands as one of USC’s more accomplished jerseys thanks to a series of dominating big men.

From 1970 to 1972, it was John Grant who established the jersey’s All-American pedigree while boosting USC to national title glory.

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Kenechi Udeze kept the legacy of the jersey going from 2001 to 2003, capping his career with consensus All-American honors as USC once again claimed a national championship. Udeze’s 26 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks put that year in the pantheon of single-greatest seasons by a Trojan lineman.

Leonard Williams never got to enjoy team successes like a national title, but he was arguably the greatest of the No. 94’s in USC history.

In three years with the Trojans, Williams hit just about every individual high. He was a Freshman All-American, then took the step up to All-American status in 2013 and 2014, earning USC’s Defensive Lineman of the Year Award in both seasons.

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The accolades only tell part of the story. Williams was a one-man wrecking crew. Even in 2014 when his production slipped ever so slightly (he had managed 13.5 tackles for loss in each of the two previous seasons, grabbing 9.5 in his final year), his ability was jaw-dropping. The level of his talent was only heightened by his toughness as he played through multiple injuries and still won his battles.

Who wears it now?

The No. 94 has stood vacant since Rasheem Green departed for the NFL after the 2017 season.

Green himself had an exceptional Trojan career. He twice led USC in sacks, posting 10 with 12.5 tackles for loss in his final campaign in cardinal and gold. He was an All-American second team selection by CollegeFootballNews.com and made it on the All-Pac-12 first team in 2017.

Following in his footsteps is no easy task and no player has yet taken on the mantle of the No. 94 jersey.

Stats to know: 94

  • Linebacker Chip Banks was the 94th All-American in USC history, achieving the honor in 1981 along with guard Roy Foster and running back Marcus Allen.
  • Linebacker Hayes Pullard led USC with 94 tackles in 2013.
  • USC has had four players selected 94th overall in the NFL Draft, including cornerback Kevin Thomas in 2010, tackle Bill Schultz in 1990, linebacker August Curley in 1983 and tackle Dennis Crane in 1968.
  • Dwight Ford set a USC record with a 94-yard touchdown against Texas A&M in the 1977 Bluebonnet Bowl. That record now belongs to LaVale Woods with a 96 yard run against Oregon State in 1996.
  • USC held Western Michigan to 94 yards passing in 2017, the fewest allowed by a Trojan defense since Boston College had just 54 in 2014.

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