USC football in the NFL: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Zach Banner team up for Pepsi ad

Former USC football star JuJu Smith-Schuster. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Former USC football star JuJu Smith-Schuster. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Former USC football and now Steelers players JuJu Smith-Schuster and Zach Banner teamed up for a Pepsi ad.

What happens when you put former USC football stars JuJu Smith-Schuster and Zach Banner together with the Steelers?

Apparently, commercials.

The two former USC and current pro teammates appeared together in a new Pepsi campaign, featuring Smith-Schuster as a tacky, old-school fitness instructor with Banner as his co-star.

JuJu Smith-Schuster and Zach Banner are personality-driven Steelers.

If you had to pick two former Trojans to be the face of an ad campaign, it would be easy to land on Smith-Schuster and Banner.

USC fans will remember them as key figures in the Trojans’ epic Rose Bowl victory over Penn State in 2017. Banner was an All-American tackle that year and Smith-Schuster caught a touchdown pass in the victory.

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The former is now a bonafide NFL star as he enters his third year in the league. He went viral when his bicycle was stolen as a rookie, then went off on the field as a second-year pro with 1,426 yards, seven touchdowns and the Steeler’s MVP Award.

All the while Smith-Schuster gained a huge following for his fun-loving persona and online gaming presence.

Even if the 2019 season was a bit of a step back for the receiver, he’s still one of the most recognizable and likable players in the league. If he manages to bounce back after a 552-yard campaign, his star will continue to rise.

Banner had a less flashy beginning to his pro career. He was drafted by the Indianapolis in the fourth round in 2017, but didn’t last with the team. He was waived by the Colts after just a few months then picked up by the Browns, who waived him in 2018. The Panthers took a chance on him next but cut him before the start of the season.

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Banner’s future in the NFL was in doubt just a year after it began, but the Steelers signed him in August of 2018. By 2019, the behemoth offensive lineman started seeing action in games. He even became a bit of a fan favorite as came in as a tight end in Pittsburgh’s jumbo package. Fans reveled at the idea of the 6-foot-8, 360-pounder being declared an “eligible receiver.”

Now in a competition for a starting place, Banner made international headlines, and endeared himself to fans further, earlier this year when he advocated for understanding between the Black and Jewish communities after DeSean Jackson shared anti-Semitic comments attributed to Hitler.

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