85 days to USC football: Dale Mitchell, Joe Cormier and the No. 85

RoT Countdown / Photo by Harry How/Getty Images (Reign of Troy)
RoT Countdown / Photo by Harry How/Getty Images (Reign of Troy) /

With 85 days remaining until USC football returns, we’re looking at Dale Mitchell and Joe Cormier, two of the top Trojans to wear No. 85.

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Sometimes it feels like the days are speeding by. Other times, the countdown is slow as a slug.

Either way, Friday marks 85 days until USC football is back at the Coliseum with a game against Fresno State on August 31.

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While the wait continues, here’s an examination of the No. 85 jersey:

Who wore it best?

Two Trojans have worn the No. 85 with particular distinction.

Dale Mitchell may have won as much as any USC player ever, lettering from 1972 to 1974.

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He was a starter at strongside linebacker in 1972 when the Trojans went undefeated en route to the national title. He recovered a fumble against Notre Dame in the regular season finale and was considered one of USC’s steadiest performers at the time.

His sophomore triumph was followed up by a Pac-12 title run in 1973 before he helped USC secure another national championship in 1974.

So key was he to the defensive effort that season that he was voted USC’s Defensive Player of the Year by his teammates.

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A decade after Mitchell, tight end Joe Cormier lifted up the No. 85 jersey on offense. He set USC’s tight end record for catches in a game against UCLA in 1983, hauling in nine passes for 87 yards. That record stood until John Allred bested it in 1996

That USC team fell to the Bruins and finished 4-6-1 under Ted Tollner, but Cormier and the Trojans had a much better time in 1984 when they won the Pac-10 title and faced off with Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Cormier caught a touchdown pass to help his team prevail 20-17.

As an individual, Cormier went out on a bigger high than the team. He led the Trojans in receptions in 1985.

Who wears it now?

No one wears the No. 85, at least on USC’s current roster.

The last Trojan to wear the jersey was Keyshawn “Pie” Young in 2018, but he was taken off the roster for Spring Camp.

His social media still describes him as a USC player, so it’s not entirely clear where he fits going forward.

Stats to know: 85

  • Heisman running back Charles White was USC’s 85th All-American ever, winning the recognition for the second time in 1979.
  • The longest punt in USC history was booted by Ernie Zampese in 1956 against Wisconsin.
  • The longest fumble return by a Trojan opponent was 85 yards by Courtney Jackson of ASU in 1996.
  • Linebacker Keith Rivers led USC with 85 tackles in 2006.
  • As a running back, 85 of Dominic Davis’ 132 career rushing yards came on one play against Arizona State. Funnily enough, he has never scored a touchdown for the Trojans.

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