22 days to USC football: Lynn Swann’s legacy and Dorian Hewett’s future

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

There’s just 22 days left in Reign of Troy’s countdown to USC football in 2019. The 22-day mark is a time to look back on Lynn Swann and ahead to Dorian Hewett.

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The 2019 USC football season will begin in just 22 days, when the Trojans host Fresno State to start a crucial season for Lynn Swann. All eyes are on the athletic director with head coach Clay Helton on the hot seat.

Can the Trojans validate the decision to bring Helton back? Will Swann have to make a big move? The greatest No. 22 in USC history anxiously awaits an answer.

Lets dive into the No. 22, shall we?

Who wore it best?

Lynn Swann wore No. 22 at USC while becoming one of the most iconic wide receivers in the history of the game. He won a national title as a junior and earned unanimous All-American honors as a senior in 1973. He was inducted to both the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fames.

A Pac-12 All-Century Team selection, Swann is undoubtedly in a class of his own in terms of on-field greatness. He’s also become a living and breathing example of how post-football executive careers can curb legacies.

SEE MORE: The 15 Best USC Receivers of All-Time

Swann became USC’s athletic director in 2016 despite no previous AD experience, and has since been scrutinized for a litany of decisions —or lack thereof— including Clay Helton’s continued employment, a lengthy two-month search for a women’s basketball coach that resulted in a retread, Andy Enfield’s continued employment, a lengthy inadequate tenure of Dan Hubbs, a laundry list of scandals and so much more.

None of those things speak to Swann’s greatness as a football player. Just like none of his heroics on the field should’ve spoken to any perceived prowess as a potential administrator.

But this is USC. And USC is in the business of selling nostalgia, which, like with Mike Garrett and Pat Haden before him, has resulted in Swann’s legacy being muddied.

It’s one of sports’ greatest ironies. See Magic Johnson and the Lakers, or Diego Maradona with Argentina.

Life would simpler if Swann forever stayed a transcendent talent who dazzled on John McKay’s finest teams, and who unfortunately came a couple of decades too early, making his production an enigma compared to the great Trojan receivers of the modern era.

But alas, Swann is a complex figure at USC. He’ll remain as such until the athletic department can turn things around.

Other No. 22s to note include All-American quarterback Gus Shaver, who helped lead the Trojans to a national championship with 16 total touchdowns in 1931. Receiver Earl McCullouch and safety David Gibson also wore the No. 22 while earning All-Conference honors in 1967 and 1999, respectively.

Who wears it now?

Currently, the No. 22 at USC is worn by true freshman safety Dorian Hewett, a three-star recruit out of North Shore High School in Houston. He won the Texas state championship as a senior and brings a ton of speed and lower level experience to the Trojans’ deep-but-unproven secondary in 2019.

CHECK OUT: Five things we learned on opening weekend of Fall Camp

How quickly will he feature for Greg Burns’ unit? That’s yet to be seen. Hewett was the last true freshman to get on campus, and therefore got a late start to fall camp.

He’ll be intrenched in a competition for playing time with fellow freshman Briton Allen, but could benefit from freshmen safety recruits Kaulana Makaula and Tuasivi Nomura getting run at corner and linebacker, respectively.

Barring an unforeseen development, Hewett should be expected to redshirt in 2019, although he’ll likely see the field as part of the new redshirt rules.

Stats to know: 22

  • Offensive guard Harry Smith became USC’s 22nd All-American in 1938.
  • Shawn Walters rushed for 22 career touchdowns, Steve Smith caught 22 career touchdowns and Mike Rae accounted for 22 combined career scores as a passer and rusher. Marcus Allen though? He rushed for 22 during his 1981 Heisman Trophy winning season alone.
  • While at USC, Charles White set or tied 22 different records, at the school, conference and national level.
  • The Trojans have scored exactly 22 points on 13 different occasions, including a 22-0 beatdown over No. 23 Oregon State in 2002.
  • In 1998, Paul Hackett’s team turned highlight by erasing a 24-13 deficit to Arizona State in the fourth quarter with 22-unanswered points.

Next. 23 Days to Kickoff