Trojan Safety Net

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Written by USC blog contributor, Andie Hagemann

Just three days separate the USC Trojans from the 2012 season opener against Hawaii in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans, finally free from its two-year bowl ban, will embark on the conquest to Miami in 2013.

Though great focus has been on the influential younger players of the roster, one Trojan has been through it all. Redshirt senior safety Drew McAllister has four years under his belt and is looking to make an impact in his last season.
During his career at USC, McAllister has been plagued with hip and hamstring injuries. However, McAllister believes his experiences have helped him improve throughout his career thus making him a stronger player within the defensive unit. "I'm going to be ready no matter what for whatever they ask me to do or whatever defenses they ask me to come in on," McAllister said. "We have a lot of older safeties now that bring a lot of experience. We have worked along with the corners in staying together as a defense." 

With the Trojans currently ranked No.1, the hype is nothing new to McAllister. He is the only current player on the USC roster that was on the top-ranked USC team during the 2008 season. The Trojans fell from the AP top-ranking after a loss to Oregon State during week five of the season.

"Last season, we had a long year as we lost a couple of games. Then, guys started to come along and we came together as a team throughout the season," McAllister said. "We just have to remember where we came from in the past couple of years and working hard to get to this point."

The six foot one safety hails from Danville, Calif., and grew up attending Cal games as both his parents attended the university. His father, Ken, lettered as a defensive back for the Golden Bears in 1976 and 1977, leading the team in punt returns during both seasons and kick-off returns in 1976. "He has definitely helped me a lot,"  McAllister said. "Having someone in the family that knows football like that definitely helps."

During his career at USC, McAllister has 54 tackles, three interceptions and two career starts. He credits his experience playing quarterback at Monte Vista high in knowing when and where the ball may go. "In high school, I played quarterback which I think helps a lot in knowing receiver and quarterback routes," McAllister said.

Though growing up donning the blue and gold, Drew has always wanted to attend USC. Playing Cal for the first time felt odd to McAllister as he was once an avid supporter of the Golden Bears. "The first time we played Cal it was a little weird having gone to all those games and then playing them in the Coliseum," McAllister said. "But, ever since I came here, I have loved it and knew this is the place I wanted to be."

Like many Trojans, McAllister had the opportunity to leave once the sanctions were handed down but  he decided to stay stay and ride out the storm. "First of all getting your education here is huge," McAllister said. "I had a couple of surgeries to go through and USC has great therapists and rehab. Of course, the coaches and the school in general were a major factor as well."

As the season kicks-off on Saturday, McAllister and the Trojans will commence their "Unfinished Business."  "We knew we had to work hard to get back to where we were at," McAllister said. "We are not there yet but I think we're working towards that and the guys are  ready."

(Photo by John McGillen)

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