65 days to USC football: Melvin Jackson, Frank Martin and the No. 65

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

USC football’s No. 65 jersey hasn’t pulled in many accolades over the decades, but Melvin Jackson played his part. Frank Martin is hoping to follow.

Top Five-Star Trojans Ever. BEST OF USC

The countdown to USC football is now at 65 days.

The Fresno State Bulldogs await the Trojans on August 31 at the Coliseum. It’s just a matter of ticking down the seconds until that day comes.

CHECK OUT: Who will breakout for USC in 2019?

So we at Reign of Troy are focusing on numbers this summer. Today, the No. 65:

Who wore it best?

In the history of USC football, 30 jersey numbers are still waiting to bear their first ever All-American.

Even if those numbers aren’t on the All-American Wall, many have still produced all-conference players.

THROWBACK: USC’s wackiest game against UCLA ever?

The No. 65 has not.

Individual acclaim is tough to identify for the number, but Melvin Jackson at least earned recognition from his coaches.

Jackson was listed as a linebacker on the roster in 1973, then wearing the No. 54, but he swapped it for the No. 65 in 1974 taking up a place on the offensive line.

MORE: Five reasons for USC optimism

Originally training as an offensive guard, he stepped in at offensive tackle briefly during the 1974 season because of injury. His involvement wasn’t great, but he was around to earn a national title ring with the Trojans.

The next season Jackson moved into the starting lineup permanently opposite All-American Marvin Powell. Despite the clear talent on the other side, USC’s coaches voted Jackson the winner of the John Dye Memorial Award as the team’s lineman of the year.

He certainly played a key role in the Trojans victory over Notre Dame in 1975. With the Irish leading 17-14, running back Ricky Bell had powered his offense to one-yard line. However, on a goal line carry, the ball popped out of his hands and into the air.

“When I fumbled, I told myself that I threw the ball game away,” Bell said in the Gannet News Service.

SEE ALSO: Is USC in danger of being “Big-12 bad?”

The game wasn’t lost because Jackson was there to recover the ball on the two-yard line. That set up quarterback Vince Evan’s game winning score.

Who wears it now?

It’s a bit of a shame Austin Jackson is wearing No. 63, because, as the grandson of Melvin Jackson, he would have been a fitting candidate to bring the number some more accolades.

As it is, the No. 65 belongs to Frank Martin, a redshirt junior guard who is still looking to make an impact.

DEPTH CHART: Projecting USC’s 2019 lineup

Martin was a standout at Mater Dei, arriving at USC in 2016 as a four-star prospect and the No. 211 player in the class.

He hasn’t been able to break into the line up though. In 2016 he redshirted while he served as an unused backup in each of the last two seasons. He has two more to make a push for playing time.

Stats to know: 65

  • Wide receiver Lynn Swann was USC’s 65th ever All-American in 1973.
  • Safety Taylor Mays picked up his first of three All-American nods with 65 tackles and six deflections in 2007.
  • Running back Reggie Bush scored on a 65-yard punt return against Oregon State in 2004. It was his season-long return. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor matched that yardage on his punt return touchdown against Washington State in 2014.
  • Running back Joe McKnight’s memorable run against Illinois in the 2008 Rose Bowl, when he scooped up a dropped lateral and took off for a long gain, went for 65 yards.
  • Wide receiver Robert Woods started his career with 65 receptions for 792 yards and six touchdowns in 2010, leading the team in receiving.
  • In 2017, wide receiver Tyler Vaughns had identical stat lines in back-to-back weeks against Utah and Notre Dame, catching six passes for 65 yards. Coincidentally, that’s the exact total of receptions and yards running back Charles White gained through the air as a freshman in 1976.

66 Days to Kickoff. Next