6 days to USC football: Michael Pittman, Isaac Taylor-Stuart key in No. 6

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

The countdown to USC football’s 2019 season is now down to six days, a number worn by key Trojans Michael Pittman and Isaac Taylor-Stuart in 2019.

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USC football is only six days away!

The Trojans are officially getting ready for their Week 1 opponent Fresno State, and we at Reign of Troy are getting ready for the coming season by looking at each USC jersey number.

What has been and could be in the No. 6?

Who wore it best?

Tim McDonald was a two-time All-American in the No. 6. He was also a two-time team MVP and one-time captain of the Trojans.

When it comes to his place in USC lore, McDonald did all he could to establish himself as one of the best in history. It’s just a touch of misfortune that he did it at a position with so many other “all-time greats.” He might get more credit otherwise.

McDonald, at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, had a mouthwatering blend of size, power and the cerebral qualities which elevate all the best football players.

“His intelligence and quick reactions [set him apart],” assistant coach Foster Andersen said in the Los Angeles Times in 1986, comparing him to the likes of Artimus Parker, Charles Phillips, Dennis Thurman, Ronnie Lott, Dennis Smith, and even UCLA’s Kenny Easley. “He reacts and goes so fast, which is what those great players did so well. When they saw something, they used their athletic ability to the maximum instead of checking to see this or that.”

During his first season as a starter in 1984, McDonald had 21 pass deflections to lead the Trojans, along with four interceptions. The next year he achieved All-American and MVP status with 102 tackles, 17 deflections, four interceptions, three tackles for loss and a blocked field goal.

In 1986, when he captained the team, he amassed 140 tackles, 10 deflections six tackles for loss, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries, one of which he returned 99 yards for a touchdown.

After McDonald, linebacker Matt Grootegoed had much better team success, winning a national championship as an All-American in 2004.

Who wears it now?

The No. 6 belongs to two key players for the Trojans 2019 season.

Wide receiver Michael Pittman is one of the leaders on the offense, returning for his senior year with something to prove.

Pittman was USC’s Offensive Perimeter Player of the Year in 2018 after bringing in 41 receptions for a team-leading 758 yards and six touchdowns. Still, his three years of solid contributions have yet to tap into the great potential he has shown at times.

This year, he has two imperatives: Stay healthy and be consistent. Doing so could put him on the path to an All-Pac-12 nod, if not more.

Isaac Taylor-Stuart also holds loads of potential at cornerback. The 6-foot-2 redshirt freshman has been one of USC’s most improved players this offseason, taking advantage of first team reps in the spring and carrying over his progress into the fall. The next question is whether he can translate practice potential into game performance.

He redshirted in 2018 while dealing with an ankle sprain, never really getting to show his stuff at cornerback in live situations. That will change in 2019 as he seems to have a starting job locked down.

Stats to know: 6

  • Back Don Williams was USC’s sixth ever All-American in 1928.
  • Twice Artimus Parker had six interceptions in his career, in 1971 and 1972, helping him take the top spot on USC’s career interception chart.
  • Anthony Davis scored six touchdowns against Notre Dame in 1972.
  • Quarterback Paul McDonald had six 200-yard passing games in his career.
  • In the 1980 Rose Bowl, Charles White had six carries for 71 yards on the game-winning drive, capped by a short rushing touchdown.
  • Erik Affholter had six career 100-yard receiving games in his career.
  • USC’s longed ever losing streak was six games in 1991.
  • R. Jay Soward set USC’s single-game receiving record for a freshman with 260 yards on six catches against UCLA in 1996.
  • Kenechi Udeze set a USC record with six forced fumbles in 2002.
  • With six catches in the 2004 Rose Bowl, Keary Colbert became USC’s career reception leader, totaling 207. That number now ranks fifth all-time.
  • USC’s 2004 national championship team featured a school-record six All-American first team players, including quarterback Matt Leinart, running back Reggie Bush, defensive linemen Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson, and linebackers Matt Grootegoed and Lofa Tatupu.
  • In the 2007 Rose Bowl, USC had six sacks against Michigan, who had given up 18 for the entire season.
  • Robert Woods had six career games with 10 or more receptions.
  • A USC player has appeared in all but six of the 53 Super Bowls.

Next. 7 Days to Kickoff