76 days to USC football: Marvin Powell answered John McKay’s question

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

There are 76 days left until USC football returns to action. Coincidentally, offensive tackle Marvin Powell wore No. 76 with All-American acclaim in 1976.

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The countdown to the 2019 USC football season has reached another new week. This Sunday, it’s just 76 days until the Trojans kickoff against Fresno State.

At Reign of Troy, we’re passing the time by examining each number that ticks by.

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So here’s a look at the No. 76 jersey in USC past and present.

Who wore it best?

How highly did USC head coach John McKay think of No. 76 Marvin Powell?

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“Powell has as much ability as our 1967 Outland Trophy Winner Ron Yary,” McKay told the San Bernadino County Sun after his offensive tackle grabbed All-Pac-8 honors for the 1974 national-title winning Trojans.

“He was devastating last season—to the point where you say, ‘No one can be that good.'”

On Powell, McKay pondered one thing at the start of the 1975 season:

“The only question with Marvin is how good does he want to be?”

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As it turns out, Powell, the son of a military veteran who thrived with the structure and discipline of football, wanted to be great.

In 1975, the 6-foot-5, 265 pounder was named an All-American.

Powell missed the first three games of the 1976 season with a strained knee, then a fourth because of a violation of team rules. When he got back on the field he proved his worth once again, helping the Trojans finish out the season with wins over No. 2 UCLA, No. 13 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

He joked in the Los Angeles Times in December of that year that if not for the missed games, “I might have had a chance for the Heisman Trophy.”

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He’d have to settle for another All-American nod and a bit further down the line in 1994, induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

His impressive streak didn’t end in college. Even though scouts doubted his heart going into the draft process, he landed with the New York Jets with the fourth pick in the 1977 NFL Draft. He became a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time First Team All-Pro selection while also juggling attending law school in the offseasons.

Who wears it now?

The No. 76 is now in the hands of redshirt senior offensive tackle Clayton Bradley.

Bradley competed for USC’s starting left tackle position last offseason, but he lost out to Austin Jackson and spent most of the 2018 season on the sidelines with a back injury.

That same injury limited him in Spring Camp in 2019, so it’s not entirely clear what his role for the coming season will be.

With the versatility to play left or right tackle, Bradley would be an ideal sixth-man, filing in on whichever side he is needed. Availability will play a role in that, but so will the battle between Jalen McKenzie and Drew Richmond on the right. Snaps may be in short supply for the veteran.

Stats to know: 76

  • Powell was USC’s 76th All-American when he picked up his first selection in 1975.
  • Running back Ricky Bell was the 1975 Liberty Bowl MVP in part thanks to a 76-yard screen pass he took to the house in the second quarter.
  • Linebacker Jack Del Rio got the first of two all-conference nods with 76 tackles in 1982. Chris Claiborne’s first all-conference selection also came with 76 tackles in 1997.
  • The longest run of Reggie Bush’s Heisman-winning season in 2005 was his first touchdown of the campaign, a 76-yard romp against Arkansas.
  • Wide receiver Robert Woods finished his career with 76 receptions in 2012. Those catches placed him first on USC’s career receiving chart. That season against Syracuse he broke off a 76-yard run, the longest of his career.
  • Also in 2012, Nelson Agholor scored the first touchdown of his career on a 76-yard reception.
  • Adoree’ Jackson had 76 yards receiving in 2016, with two catches of 52 and 24 yards.
  • The Pac-12 record for longest run with a blocked punt belongs to Oregon State’s Orile Robbins, who returned one 76 yards against USC in 1927.

77 Days to Kickoff. Next