USC football was named the top defensive back school of all-time by Bleacher Report.
You may have heard USC referred to as Running Back U or even Linebacker U, but the Trojans arguably have their biggest claim to Defensive Back U.
With College Football Hall of Famers like Ronnie Lott and Troy Polamalu in their ranks, USC’s track record of producing big-time college safeties is unquestioned.
But Bleacher Report definitively gave USC the nod as DB U because of the Trojans’ NFL exploits.
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Here’s how it works: BR’s David Kenyon and Kerry Miller set out to find the college programs who “generated the most productive NFL players” since 1970. They weighed total NFL alumni and draft picks for the defensive back position group, but ultimately preferenced on-field production to make their rankings.
And when it comes to on-field success in the NFL, USC’s defensive backs reign supreme.
For that, thank 10-time Pro Bowler Ronnie Lott, eight-time Pro Bowler Troy Polamalu, six-time Pro Bowlers Joey Browner, Dennis Smith and Tim McDonald. Toss in three-time Pro Bowler Mark Carrier as well.
The Trojans got the top nod over Ohio State, who has put a huge number of defensive backs in the league but hasn’t had the same extreme success on the top end.
For example, Ohio State had 11 Pro Bowl defensive backs going back to 1970. USC’s had six. Of course, those six combined for 39 selections to the Buckeyes’ total of 19.
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Bleacher Report was quick to point out a pressing concern for USC. Ohio State still has a bunch of defensive backs in the league who could raise their profile. The Trojans are a bit thinner on that front at the moment. Troy Polamalu and Sammy Knight are USC’s only Pro Bowl defensive backs this century.
It’s up to Adoree’ Jackson, Iman Marshall and others to change that. Or maybe it’ll be Talanoa Hufanga and Isaiah Pola-Mao who restore the reign.