16 days to USC football: Brice Taylor, the first and most surprising All-American

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

Reign of Troy continues the countdown to the 2019 USC football season by examining the No. 16 with greats like Brice Taylor and Frank Gifford.

Top 10 Trojan RBs. BEST OF USC

USC football is just 16 days away.

What better way to mark the day than by looking at the No. 16, which in USC history has a pretty strong legacy.

It all starts with Brice Taylor:

Who wore it best?

The thing about Brice Taylor is that even one of his many accolades would have been enough to get him mentioned in the annals of great No. 16’s in USC history.

Brice Taylor was an All-American guard in 1925. A one-handed All-American guard. A one-handed African-American All-American guard. Those were all firsts for a Trojan.

Heralded as “the fastest guard on the coast,” Taylor was also a track star. He helped set a world record with USC’s 1925 relay team.

Had he been born with a left hand, he might have been able to establish himself as one of USC’s great playmakers on offense and defense.

Frank Gifford got that chance in No. 16 from 1949 to 1951 during his College Football Hall of Fame career which involved contributions in every aspect of the game. He kicked field goals in 1949 and led the Trojans in interceptions and scoring in 1950 before emerging as a rushing powerhouse in 1951 en route to All-American glory.

The No. 16 wasn’t finished then.

Paul McDonald quarterbacked USC to the 1978 national championship in the jersey before Rodney Peete set a new standard for the position in 1988 when he challenged for the Heisman Trophy, ultimately taking home the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year Award along with the Johnny Unitas and Pop Warner awards.

Who wears it now?

Cornerback Dominic Davis and walk-on quarterback Scott Harris will wear the No. 16 in 2019.

Davis is the most veteran player in the Trojan secondary as a redshirt senior. However, it will be an uphill climb for him to see regular playing time as he closes out his career.

Stats to know: 16

  • Tackle Tay Brown was USC’s 16th ever All-American in 1932.
  • Consensus All-American quarterback Gaius “Gus” Shaver scored 16 touchdowns in 1931.
  • All-American running back Ricky Bell had 16 100-yard rushing games in his Trojan career.
  • Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott had 16 deflections in 1980. Defensive back Joey Browner followed with the same in 1981 while linebacker Chris Claiborne matched both in 1998. Linebacker Scott Ross had 16 career deflections from 1987 to 1990.
  • Heisman running back Marcus Allen set or tied 16 NCAA records at USC from 1978 to 1981.
  • All-American receiver Keyshan Johnson had 16 touchdowns during his two-year career from 1994 to 1995.
  • All-American wide receiver Mike Williams set a school record with 16 receiving touchdowns in 2003. Dwayne Jarrett matched that record in 2005.
  • Heisman running back Reggie Bush scored 16 rushing touchdowns in 2005.
  • After going into the half of the 2007 Rose Bowl tied 3-3 with Michigan, USC scored 16 points in the third quarter to take control, ultimately winning 32-18.
  • Hayes Pullard had 16 tackles in USC’s Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech in 2012, the most since Troy Polamalu in 2001.
  • Trojans who have led USC in tackles for loss with 16 include Dennis Edwards in 1978, Jack Del Rio in 1983, Duane Bickett in 1984, Marcus Cotton in 1987 and Mike Patterson in 2004.
  • Willie McGinest led USC in sacks with 16 in 1992. Kenechi Udeze had 16.5 in 2003.
  • Dennis Smith’s 16 career interceptions rank third at USC all-time.
  • Howard Jones spent 16 yards as USC’s head football coach. He won four national titles, seven conference championships and five Rose Bowls in that span. Jones’ 1939 national title team beat a Tennessee team which hadn’t been scored upon in 16 games in the 1940 Rose Bowl.
  • Don Clark, one of just two coaches in Trojan history with a sub-.500 record as a head coach went 13-16-1 from 1957 to 1959.

Next. 17 Days to Kickoff