It means a lot to hear that from Leinart, who experienced the last first offseason of a new elite head coach's career at USC. Leinart's first offseason joining the Trojans was also Pete Carroll's.
But beyond Leinart pointing out the excitement that he experienced at spring ball, USC LB Raesjon Davis pointed out something that Leinart did to contribute to the practice:
Raesjon Davis was 'gold-plated' by USC football great Matt Leinart.
Of course, Raesjon Davis is referring to the new 'gold-plated' tradition that USC football is currently doing. Players will be 'gold-plated' by displaying effort and discipline both on and off the field.
Players start with regular cardinal helmets with no Trojan logo on the side, but when they get 'gold-plated,' they earn that gold Trojan logo on the side. As seen in the above video, players also earn a 'gold-plated' shirt in addition.
Both Davis and Leinart played at powerhouse Mater Dei High School, which of course makes this mean even more to Davis than it already did. But beyond just Leinart being there to give him the badge of honor, it speaks to the type of season Davis is about to have. Riley raved about Davis after practice, and Davis revealed that he has packed on lots of more muscle already:
The fact that he's already shown improvement this offseason to go along with the fact that he's improved his football body shows that Davis is serious about his development. Davis didn't play much last year, but as a top 50 overall recruit in the 2021 class (247Sports), his talent is there. Add muscle to that and he can thrive.
Davis will likely start as SC's Will Linebacker this season. Linebacker is arguably the biggest question mark with this year's group, so hearing that the No. 6 Linebacker recruit in the nation for his class is one of the players in the first wave of gold plates proves that he's putting both talent and hard work together. Sounds like exactly what Trojans fans were hoping for when Riley was hired.