57 days to USC football: Justin Dedich awaits his opportunity

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

No USC football player wearing No. 57 has been an All-Conference player since 1976. Could Justin Dedich force his way on the field to give it a shot?

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Nothing says July 5th like leftover BBQ, which may or may not need a condiment or two to spice it up. Why not Heinz 57? It’s famous for being a little bit of everything, just like USC Football and the No. 57 jersey.

Let dive into the versatile number for offensive linemen and linebackers, as we sit 57 days from the Trojans’ season opener against Fresno State.

Who wore it best?

The No. 57 jersey hasn’t been an overly historic number at USC, with just a pair of All-Conference players to have worn it: center Dave Brown in 1972 and outside linebacker David Lewis in 1976.

A junior college transfer out of San Diego, Lewis was a high-impact player in his time at USC. He led the 1975 Trojans in tackles (90), tackles for loss (12) and fumbles recovered (4).

Other wearers of the No. 57 include Joey Browner’s brother Keith, a team captain in 1983, as well as 1999 Bob Chandler Award winner, Aaron Williams.

Who wears it now?

Justin Dedich got to USC as the second-ranked center in the 2018 recruiting class, looking to be the Trojans’ future at the position. That requires beating out Brett Neilon, a similarly ranked prospect from the 2017 class.

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This spring, the two dueled and Neilon had a firm grip on first-team reps. While the battle to replace Toa Lobendahn won’t truly be decided until the end of fall camp, Dedich sits in an interesting place.

He’s got a great chance to be one of USC’s five best offensive linemen despite being behind Neilon. Could Tim Drevno move Dedich to guard? It’s possible. Just last season, the coaching staff liked him enough to use him as a true freshmen in a special jumbo package.

Either way, Dedich is a hard-nose, physical lineman who will get on the field at some point for USC. It’s a just a matter when and where, and whether or not Neilon plays a role in his direction.

Stats to know: 57

  • Offensive lineman Marv Montgomery became the Trojans’ 57th All-American in 1970.
  • In two years at USC, quarterback sensation Sam Darnold threw 57 touchdown passes.
  • Both Marcus Allen and Mike Williams amassed 57 career passing yards each. None were more important than Williams’ 15-yard toss to Matt Leinart in the 2004 Rose Bowl.
  • The Trojans have scored exactly 57 points just once. It came against Whittier Reform in 1907.

Next. 58 Days to Kickoff