January 2017 Archives

Meet Harrison Henderson

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USC-basketball-ucla-2017-mcgillen-4704.jpgName: Harrison Henderson

Position: Forward

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-10 and 220 pounds

Age: 19

High School: South Grand Prairie High (Grand Prairie, TX)

Game: Henderson is an athletic big man who is working to develop his game this season as a part-time player. He has been asked to step up in key spots, including the recent victory over UCLA in which he knocked down a three-pointer just before halftime to send the Galen Center into a frenzy. Henderson has the size of a big man at 6-foot-10, but he displays the fluidity of a wing. He has a tremendous ceiling as he develops within the USC program.

Prep Career: Henderson graduated in 2016 from South Grand Prairie High in Grande Prairie, Texas. His team went 25-9 and reached the semifinals of the Texas 6A Regions 1 & 3 championships where they lost 53-47 to DeSoto, the eventual 6A state champion. Henderson averaged 12.1 points and 6.6 rebounds for South Grand Prairie and was named first team All-District. He was also an Academic First team selection and National Honor Society member.

Fun Fact: Henderson was a member of the Debate Club in high school.

Head coach Andy Enfield on Henderson stepping into USC's game vs. UCLA: "Henderson deserves a lot of credit. He came in and wasn't afraid of the moment."

Here is Henderson on playing for Enfield, USC's academic prestige and more:

Trojan of the Week: Elijah Stewart

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For the second consecutive week, the Trojan Family voted junior guard Elijah Stewart the Jersey Mike's Player of the Week for men's basketball.

Stewart has been on fire over his last three games, sinking 16 threes. In the win over UCLA, he filled up the box score with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.

The Trojans are on the road this week with games at Washington (Wednesday at 8 p.m. on ESPNU) and Washington State (Saturday at 5 p.m. on Pac-12 Network).


USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 4

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USC men's volleyball added a new member to the team on Jan. 23, who came in and started contributed immediately in the Trojans' two matches this week.

USC dropped both, to No. 8 Stanford and No. 9 Pepperdine, but head coach Jeff Nygaard was impressed with newcomer Gianluca Grasso, his team's steady improvement and the Trojans' "Fight On" spirit.

Hear everything he had to say in this week's "Nygaard at the Net."

Amazing Aaron

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Today, USC men's basketball guard Shaqquan Aaron earned the first Pac-12 Player of the Week award of his career.

Click here for the full release!

Aaron, who transferred to USC from Louisville and sat out last year due to NCAA rules, posted a career-high 23 points vs. UCLA on Wednesday. He came off the bench and provided and immediate spark, draining the go-ahead three for the Trojans, who took the lead and never looked back.

Aaron led all scorers in USC's win on Wednesday, which was its fourth in a row over UCLA. The Seattle native averages 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game this season.

The award marks the second time this season a Trojan has been honored by the conference, as Jordan McLaughlin won it on Dec. 26. McLaughlin, Aaron and the Trojans suit up again on Wednesday when they head to Aaron's hometown to face UW.

New Heights

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After a 2016 season that saw the Trojans go 20-1 with a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals, USC women's lacrosse is ranked No. 4 in the IWLCA preseason coaches poll.

Click here for the full release!

The No. 4 ranking is not only the highest in the program's five-year history, but the highest a West Coast team has ever been ranked leading into the season. The three teams ahead of USC are defending national champion UNC, Maryland and Florida. Syracuse, which knocked USC out of the tournament last year, comes in at No. 5.

Last year, the Trojans far outperformed their preseason ranking. They entered the season as the No. 19 team in the nation, only to go undefeated in the regular season and in the MPSF, coming out on top of the conference. The Trojans boasted the No. 1 defense in the nation last year, and they return goalie Gussie Johns and defenders Nina Kelty and Lydia Sutton.

The No. 4 Trojans kick off the 2017 season at home vs. St. Mary's on Feb. 11.


Road Split

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USC women's tennis team split its matches at ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Auburn, AL this weekend.

The No. 18 Trojans squared up against Rice on Saturday to kick off the competition. USC lost the doubles point, but roared back to earn a 4-2 victory. Despite being down 5-2 in the second set, Rianna Valdez (pictured) showed her Fight On spirit to come back and clinch the match for the Trojans.

With the win over Rice, USC advanced to the final of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend against No. 15 Auburn. The Trojans again dropped the doubles point, but weren't able to come back this time. USC's Gabby Smith was the only Trojan able to secure a victory in singles, as Auburn won, 4-1. Smith is undefeated (3-0) in dual matches this year and has won eight matches in a row.

USC gets right back into action on Thursday, when it hosts San Diego State. Just a day later, the Florida Gators come to town.

Both matches take place at 1:30 p.m. at USC's Marks Stadium.


Fifty-Goal Flurry

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USC_Womens_waterpolo_040316_MCG2861.jpgUSC women's water polo racked up two more wins this weekend to improve to 7-0 on the season so far.

Click here for the full recap!

The No. 2 Trojans were dominant in their two games at the CBU Mini Invitational in Riverside, CA, beating their opponents by a collective score of 50-5.

Twelve Trojans found the back of the net in USC's first game of the weekend against Concordia, with senior Ioanna Haralabidis and freshman Maud Megens led the way (four goals each). The Trojans wound up with a 28-1 win -- their highest scoring output since Feb. 6, 2016.

On the latter end of Saturday's double-header, Haralabidis' twin, Stephania, paced the team with five goals. The Trojans beat Whittier, 22-4, to round out the weekend and stay undefeated on the season.

Stephania and Ioanna Haralibidis are USC's two leading scorers this year, with 25 and 17 goals, respectively. The newcomer Megens is the next-most lethal scorer, with 15 goals to her name.

With nine goals this weekend, Stephania moved into No. 6 on USC's all-time scoring chart. She needs just four more to move into sole possession of fifth place. Her next chance will come on Friday at 5 p.m. vs. San Diego State.

Follow USC Water Polo on Twitter to stay up-to-date on all the games this season!

A Beautiful Day in Troy

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On Sunday, USC's Trojan Outreach program hosted its annual A Day in Troy event, where USC student-athletes gave local children a tour of campus and treated them to a women's basketball game.

Trojan student-athletes from football, men's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball, women's lacrosse, women's rowing, men's and women's water polo, swimming and golf participated in the event. They showed the children around Heritage Hall, the McKay Center and the rest of USC's campus.

After that, they took the kids to the Galen Center, where they taught them about the SCORE Initiative at USC before signing autographs.

To round out the day's activities, the student-athletes and children cheered on USC women's basketball during its upset win over ASU at the Galen Center.

USC team photographer John McGillen captured all the best moments from A Day in Troy.

Class of 2017: DL Marlon Tuipulotu

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National Signing Day is Wednesday, but the Trojans just nabbed yet another early enrollee.

The Trojans need some help shoring up their defensive line, and 5-star DL Marlon Tuipulotu should do just that. The 2016 Prep Star All-American racked up 62 tackles, 14 TFL, 6 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 deflections and a blocked field goal at Central High in Independence, OR this year. He was also named the USA Today All-Oregon Defensive Player of the Year, All-State Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year and All-Mid-Willamette Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. The cousin of Trojan DT Fili Moala (USC '05-08), Tuipulotu also wrestled in high school, and will bring that athleticism to Troy.

To see the entire 2017 class in action, purchase season tickets for the reigning Rose Bowl champions!

Comeback Kids

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USC women's basketball used a second-half comeback to topple No. 16 Arizona State on Sunday by a score of 65-50.

Click here for the full recap!

The Trojans went into the break down a point, but turned on the jets, shooting 73 pct from the floor in the final 20 minutes to earn the upset.

Sadie Edwards was 7-of-8 from the floor for 17 points, on top of her 5 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists and 2 steals. Kristen Simon also stuffed the stat sheet with a double-double: 16 points and 11 boards. Two other Trojans -- Courtney Jaco and Minyon Moore -- also finished in double figures.

Click here to watch highlights!

The win was USC's third over a ranked opponent this season and helped the Trojans move to 12-9 on the season, with a 3-7 mark in Pac-12 play.

Click here to watch the Trojans' reaction to beating ASU!

Team photographer John McGillen captured every moment of Sunday's upset at the Galen Center.

Virginia is for Trojans

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USC men's tennis punched its ticket to next month's ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Virginia by winning the ITA Kick-Off Weekend tournament this weekend.

In the first round of this weekend's tournament, the No. 8 Trojans shut out visiting East Tennessee State, 4-0. USC used a win in doubles and singles victories by Jack Jaede, Riley Smith and Nick Crystal to secure a spot in the championship match.

In the championship, USC faced USD, which beat Virginia Tech, 4-2, in the first round. The Trojans got off to a hot start again, easily winning the doubles point. They carried their momentum into singles play to win five of six matches for a 6-1 victory. Jaede, Smith and Crystal were all victorious once again, with Smith serving as the clincher.

The 5-0 Trojans are now guaranteed a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Charlottesville, VA from Feb. 17-20. Before that, though, they head to Gainesville, FL to participate in the Pac-12/SEC Showdown from Feb. 4-5.

Best of the Best

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After a week full of activities in Orlando, four Trojans suited up for the AFC and the NFC in the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday.

Titans DT Jurrell Casey, Vikings DE Everson Griffen and Cowboys OT Tyron Smith started, while Jets DE Leonard Williams came off the bench.

Casey posted 5 tackles and 1 pass defended for the AFC, which won the game, 20-13. Griffen, meanwhile, put on a show with a game-high 8 tackles, 3 sacks and an impressive sack dance. Smith bolstered an NFC offensive line that only allowed two sacks all game.

Williams, USC's youngest representative this year, made his Pro Bowl debut and got right to work.

Casey, Griffen, Smith and Williams brought USC's all-time total number of Pro Bowlers to 232.

Last Time for the Trojans

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Stevie T.jpgUSC OT Zach Banner and DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu donned their Trojan helmets one last time at the Senior Bowl this weekend.

Both big men suited up for the North team, which ultimately fell, 16-15.

Tu'ikolovatu (pictured) made one tackle and used his quick thinking to come up with a fumble recovery in the second quarter.

Banner also snagged a fumble recovery and returned it four yards before what seemed like the entire South team converged on him to bring him down. Though he started at right tackle for the Trojans this year, Senior Bowl coaches tried him out at left tackle during practice, allowing him to show NFL scouts his versatility.

The game gave Banner and Tu'ikolovatu an opportunity to impress the Bears coaching staff, which led the North team's efforts this year. The Bears have the No. 3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and some experts expect the Bears to bolster their offensive line.

Banner and Tu'ikolovatu look to become the next Trojans to use the Senior Bowl as a stepping stone. Last year, Cody Kessler and Soma Vainuku participated in the showcase. Kessler was drafted by the Browns in the third round (No. 93 overall), and Vainuku went undrafted but signed with the Texans as an undrafted free agent. Other Trojan Senior Bowl alums with impressive NFL careers include Carson Palmer, Clay Matthews III, Ryan Kalil, Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga, Keith Rivers, Lynn Swann and more. In total, 87 Trojans have participated in the Senior Bowl.

The 2017 NFL Draft takes place from April 27-29 in Philadelphia. Follow Banner and Tu'ikolovatu on Twitter to track their journeys to the Draft!

Trojans Live: Darnold and Thornton

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Trojans Live kicked off its spring season by counting down to tip off for the USC men's basketball game against UCLA. While you can rewatch the full show on Facebook Live, our interviews with Rose Bowl MVP Sam Darnold and Duke transfer PG Derryck Thornton were not specific to the game.

Thornton is forced to sit out this season due to transfer rules, but he is loving life as part of Andy Enfield's program. He spoke about the bright future of USC men's basketball as the Trojans are winning now and loading up for the future.

Click here to watch Thornton's interview.

Darnold took us through the wild ride of his freshman season and what he plans to do as an encore.

Trojan Linemen Making a Splash

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Among the 110 athletes competing at this year's Reese's Senior Bowl, USC's Zach Banner and Stevie Tu'ikolovatu have found ways to stand out.

Banner officially earned the title of the biggest man at the Senior Bowl when the players were measured on Tuesday. He weighed in at 361 lbs. and was measured at 6'8 3/8" --- both Senior Bowl superlatives. Tu'ikolovatu is the second-heaviest player in Mobile, AL, at 350 lbs. He was measured at 6'1 1/8" tall.

Banner obviously turned heads with his size, but has impressed in practice as well.

Tu'ikolovatu has earned rave reviews at practice. USC's Defensive Lineman of the Year apparently caught the eye of a Buccaneers scout, who praised his run-stopping ability -- a skill he used to make a name for himself all season.

Tu'ikolovatu's effort on a goal-line stand by the North Team got people talking once again.

Banner and Tu'ikolovatu are set to represent Trojan Nation in the Senior Bowl tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. PT on NFL Network.

Pac-12 Tourney Tix

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The 2017 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament will be held inside the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas from March 8-11. The Trojans will be pushing for an NCAA Tournament bid, so be sure to get your tickets now and support USC on its "March to Madness."

Click here for ticket information!

The Trojans have won back-to-back games, including their fourth consecutive victory over UCLA, to move to 5-4 in conference play and 18-4 overall. If the tournament were held today, USC would be seeded sixth.


All Access with USC Men's Basketball

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The Pac-12 Network featured USC men's basketball on its All Access show, documenting the Trojans preparation for Arizona and then bringing the viewer into Andy Enfield's huddles during the game. While the wild comeback ultimately fell short, the program remains on an upward trajectory after wins over Arizona State and UCLA following the loss to the Wildcats.

Kick It Off

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USC men's tennis looks to build on its early success this season when it hosts USD, Virginia Tech and East Tennessee State at ITA Kick-Off Weekend.

Click here for the full preview!

It's the ninth year in a row that the Trojans, ranked No. 8 in the nation in the latest ITA poll, were selected as one of 16 hosts of ITA Kick-Off Weekend. USD and VaTech face off first, before USC plays East Tennessee State at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The winners of each match will meet in the title game on Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner of that match punches its ticket to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which take place in Virginia next month.

USC got off to a hot start this season, winning its first three matches. Four Trojans are ranked in singles (No. 20 Brandon Holt, No. 28 Logan Smith, No. 88 Nick Crystal and No. 114 Thibault Forget). Smith and Forget comprise the nation's No. 35 doubles team, while Smith and senior Rob Bellamy are ranked No. 49.

Follow @USCMensTennis on Twitter for updates this weekend!



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McGillen Gallery: USC vs. UCLA

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USC men's basketball knocked off No. 8 UCLA for its fourth straight win over the Bruins. The sold-out crowd at Galen Center was on its feet cheering as the Trojans hit a three or jammed a dunk on what seemed like every other possession.

USC team photographer John McGillen captured all the action from the exciting upset.

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Vinnie Rios

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

Vinnie.jpgName: Vinnie Rios
Class: Senior
Sport: Men's Volleyball
Major: Global Medicine (Master of Science)
GPA: 3.26

Aubrey Kragen (AK): So when did you first realize that you were interested in medicine?

Vinnie Rios (VR): To be completely honest, I think it's something I've always known I've wanted. Throughout even high school and middle school -- as far back as I can remember in my schooling -- sciences were always the thing I was most intrigued by. As I took classes throughout high school and my undergrad here as well, I started keying in on the more biomechanical side of things. Being an athlete, I just love the way the body works and when things go wrong, I wonder why and how I can fix that. Also, as an athlete, I've had my fair share of injuries and I had an orthopedic surgeon who did wonders for me. He was able to not only heal me but get me back on the court in a pretty understandable amount of time. So I think for me, I want to go into orthopedic surgery -- that's kind of my goal. I just want to be able to give back. I want to be able to help out future athletes in the way that he helped me.

AK: Can you go into detail on what being an orthopedic surgeon entails?

VR: Bone breaks, muscle tears, joint dislocations -- and I want to specialize in sports injuries as well, because orthopedics can be anywhere from old age just needing a hip replacement. Dr. Dorr, a hip replacement surgeon in the Keck Medical School, did my grandpa's knee replacements. So I'm looking at an internship right now through him, but I specifically want to get into sports injuries, so if I could follow a team around that would be great. More of the biomechanical side of things.

AK: You mentioned you had an injury experience that opened your eyes to this field?

VR: Yeah, I broke my ankle my freshman year of high school, and then I ended up breaking my back a year later. I think it really stemmed from me starting to compensate ... Because I was compensating and walking a certain way it ended up causing stress on my back, so the second doctor I went to was able to figure that out and worked from the ground up, essentially. He was able to not only address the back issues, which was what I came for, but also addressed some of the underlying causes of how to walk again -- I had a weird limp.

AK: There are many different programs at the Keck School of Medicine, so what led you to the Global Medicine program specifically?

VR: I mainly just talked to my advisor. When I was finishing up the undergraduate side of things, people were asking, 'Where do you want to go? What's your plan?' I honestly said I was not ready to take the MCAT yet -- I knew I wanted to go to med school, but I wasn't ready yet. So I was looking for internships or a way to buy some time. And my advisor ended up guiding me toward the Global Medicine program ... I'm very appreciative toward my advisor, Laura Ames, my academic athletic advisor, Darrick Brown. There have been so many people who are helping me talk to the right people at the right time.

AK: How do you make your med school schedule work with practice?

VR: It's actually an oddity. This semester is my last semester -- I'll be finishing my Master's this spring. And for the first time since I've been in school for five years now, I have class for two hours Wednesday and two hours Friday. And it is unbelievable. Amazing. I love it. There are times when I don't really know what to do with my life, but I usually just fill it with rehab. I spend a lot of time with my trainer in the training room.

AK: You started your college career at Pepperdine, right? How was the transition coming here, both academically and athletically?

VR: That was a struggle. I loved Pepperdine -- It was a great school, I have nothing bad to say about it. But it was a very small science program. So with me being an athlete and trying to go the pre-med route, it just wasn't working. If I would have stayed an extra semester, I would have been missing four to five days of practice. So I talked to advisors and said this isn't working out, and I talked to my coaches to try to change practice time, but everywhere I turned, they said, 'Well, you can quit the team, or you can change your major.' And I kind of thought, 'I've been working so hard to have both of these in my life, and I'm not passionate about anything else,' so those just weren't good options for me. I quit the team there, got into contact with some coaches around here and luckily found my spot here. It was the best decision I made -- I would do it 10 times out of 10, 100 percent.

AK: So you have your Bachelor's degree, you're getting a Master of Science and then you're going to med school right? How do you stay motivated throughout all that schooling?

VR: I definitely want to take a gap year between the Master's and medical school. I'm feeling a little burnt out right now. It's been a lot of summer school for me, too, because I was behind from Pepperdine, so I almost feel like I've been in nonstop schooling for the past three or four years. My mom's been very understanding of that. She's excited -- I'll hopefully be the first doctor in my family, so she's all about moving on and getting into med school. I told her I need to do this at my own pace, kind of slow it down and enjoy my time for a little bit. She was worried that I wasn't going to want to go back once I took a year off. And the thing that I tell her is just that I am passionate about this. I guarantee the drive will not ever go away for me.

Save the Dates

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USC set the dates for Trojan Family Weekend (October 14 vs. Utah) and Homecoming/Reunion Week (November 4 vs. Arizona) as part of the 2017 home football schedule.

Click here for tickets.


Trojan of the Week: Elijah Stewart

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The Trojan Family voted USC junior guard Elijah Stewart the Jersey Mike's Trojan of the Week for men's basketball for his efforts against Arizona and Arizona State.

Stewart paced the team with 20 points against the Wildcats on Thursday. He hit a game-high 5 threes, posted a game-high 4 blocks and grabbed 4 boards. Stewart helped the Trojans mount a furious comeback that fell just short against the now-No. 7 Cats.

Against ASU, Stewart tied a career high with 7 three-pointers and finished one point shy of his career high in points, with 29 on the night. Stewart brought his all-time three-pointer count to 149, which ranks ninth in USC history.

Stewart has a chance to move up in the rankings in tonight's game vs. UCLA. The game tips at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on FS1.


The Swiss Army Knife

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While UCLA's freshmen have received more acclaim this season, the Trojans will rely just as much on their rookies when the two teams square off tonight at the Galen Center. Freshman guard De'Anthony Melton came into USC under the radar, not ranked as a Top 100 recruit, because he is not an elite scorer at this point in his career, but he has a unique game which is starting to get noticed.

Without Bennie Boatwright, the Trojans have had to resort to a small lineup, but Melton has come up big on the glass as the team's second leading rebounder (5.6 per game). The stat sheet stuffer also leads the team in steals, ranks second in assists and third in blocks.

Melton will play in his first Crosstown Showdown tonight when USC and UCLA tip off at 8 p.m. PT on FS1.


High Expectations

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USC women's lacrosse team, which finished the 2016 regular season undefeated and won the MPSF, was tabbed the No. 1 team in the MPSF heading into the 2017 season.

Click here for the full release!

The Trojans, who went 20-1 last season with a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals, received each of the eight first place votes in the Coaches' Poll. It's the first time in the program's young history that the team has been the conference's preseason favorite.

This season, USC returns its top-notch goalkeeper, Gussie Johns, who led the nation in goals-against average last season and was recently named to the U.S. Women's National Lacrosse team. The USC defense is bolstered by Nina Kelty and Lydia Sutton, while Kylie Drexel and Michaela Michael will take hold of the offense.

The Trojans kick off their 2017 season on Feb. 11 vs. St. Mary's. Follow the team on Twitter for updates before the season opener!


State of Troy: January 2017

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Each month, we interview USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann to get his take on the hot topics around Heritage Hall.

Swann on winning the Rose Bowl Game...

Schedule2.jpgOur head coach Clay Helton did an extraordinary job of keeping the football team together after starting 1-3. We finished the season ranked No. 3 so that sends a powerful message to future Trojans. USC now stands a little taller. We look forward to taking that Rose Bowl win and pushing that success into a great recruiting season and continuing the pursuit of Pac-12 and National Championships.

Click here for 2017 USC football ticket information!

Swann on the 2017 football schedule...

We continue to schedule top competition. We start off next season with Western Michigan, a team which lost only one game last year, its bowl game to Wisconsin. We have Texas in the first month, and Stanford is early in week two. It will require us to take the lessons of last year and apply them to this season, so we are better at the start and give ourselves a stronger chance to play for a Pac-12 Championship.

Swann on the men's basketball showdown between USC and UCLA at the Galen Center...

The Bruins are greatly improved from last season. Last year, USC had a terrific year, beating UCLA three times. We are certainly going into this game feeling like we can beat them again. Every team needs to go into every game with that kind of confidence. We played a strong game but came away with a loss against Arizona last week. We showed our mettle by coming back from down quite a bit. We followed it up with a good win over Arizona State and are geared up and focused to make a good run at UCLA. I'll be there. Our president, Max Nikias, will be there. Our head football coach will be there. This basketball team will have the support of the entire student body, so we are looking forward to it.

Click here for USC men's basketball tickets.

Swann on the NCAA relaxing time demands on student-athletes...

It has always been the case for student-athletes that academics, practice and competition demand all of their time, so they cannot do anything else. Certainly, athletes understand that they miss out on a number of things. It was not until I retired from football that I ever went to a tailgate party, and they go on all the time. (laughing) But, we take this very seriously. We want our student-athletes to do well in school and compete well in the athletic arena, but we want them to have a great college experience also. So, these changes in terms of time demand and structure, giving them some time off, making sure that they are not over-coached and over-trained and pushed over their limits, we want to make sure that we comply. We also want to give them time to recover, so they can continue to compete well in and out of the classroom.

USC_Football_Rose_Bowl_2017_PSU_McGillen_5095.jpgSwann on his role in recruiting student-athletes to USC...

My role in recruiting is whatever the coaches want or need me to do. I speak with student-athletes in every sport. I talk to the student-athletes and their parents, and I tell them the same thing. First, I want all the student-athletes to graduate, so we put them on a track to get their degree because that is the real golden ticket. Very few athletes get the chance to play professionally. If they do, the degree will augment what they do down the road, but they will never have to go back to move forward. Number two, we want them to come here and win. We recruit them because we think they are the best student-athletes available to compete at this level. We expect them to come here and work hard to be winners. Third, we want them to have a great all-around college experience. And finally, you have to want to come to USC. It has to be your choice. If it is not the student's choice, it is too tough for them to be living someone else's dream. That's what I tell the student-athletes. That's what I tell the parents. The story does not change. My door is always open to both because your kids being in college does not mean you stop parenting.

Swann on the beginning of spring sports season...

We are off to a winning start with a lot of top ranked teams. Women's water polo, the defending national champions, is at the top of that list. Swimming and diving is doing extraordinarily well, and I hope to attend the women's NCAA competition. Track and field kicked off its indoor season impressively with Kendall Ellis running a school-record time in the 400m indoors. Men's and women's tennis picked up early season victories last week. I am looking forward to getting out to all of these sports. I will participate and give them my support. It is important that they know that they have the full support of the athletic director every step of the way.

Boyd to the Rafters

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USC men's basketball will honor Bob Boyd, the program's legendary player and coach, by retiring his No. 19 jersey during a halftime ceremony tonight at the Galen Center.

Boyd passed away in 2015, leaving a legacy to match any Trojan hoopster. As head coach, he guided USC's greatest team, the 1971 squad which went 24-2. Overall, his Trojans boasted a record of 216-131 from 1967 through 1979 and played in the postseason four times.

Click here for his obituary.

He was also an accomplished player, lettering from 1950-52. He capped his USC career by being named the team MVP as a senior.

Tonight's ceremony will be the latest in a long line of honors for Boyd who is already in the USC Athletic Hall of Fame and the Pac-12 Basketball Hall of Honor.


Meet Nick Rakocevic

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LR-usc-mens-basketball-2017-asu-mcgillen-2757.JPGName: Nick Rakocevic

Position: PF

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-11 and 215 lbs.

Age: 19

High School: St. Joseph's (Chicago, IL)

Game: Rakocevic has taken on a heavier load than expected with Bennie Boatwright missing most of the season to this point. Playing in all 21 games and starting 8, the freshman big has contributed 5.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest. He is an exceptional offensive rebounder, leading the team in that category. Rakocevic has a nice touch for a big man and as he gets stronger, he will become a force in the paint.

Prep Career: Rakocevic averaged 19.8 points, 14.4 rebounds and 4.0 blocks as a senior at St. Joseph's, posting a double-double in all 33 of his starts. His dominance earned him a spot on the Chicago Tribune All-Star first team, the All-State team and the All-Conference team. As a junior, he led his team to the 3A Illinois state title.

USC head coach Andy Enfield on Rakocevic's strong game in Sunday's victory over ASU: "Nick really made his presence felt as a seven-footer like he should. He had 11 points and 8 rebounds, set great screens and was a big part of our win."

Fun Fact: Rakocevic's high school was the subject of the documentary "Hoop Dreams."

Here is Rakocevic on his offensive rebounding prowess, adjusting to the college level and more:

Scorching Scorer

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USC women's water polo player Stephania Haralabidis began her started off her senior season with a bang.

Against USC's five opponents at the UCSB Winter Invitational, she drummed up 17 goals, a feat that earned her MPSF Player of the Week honors.

Haralabidis was one of three Trojans to score in each of the team's five games this week. More impressively, her nine-goal outing vs. No. 9 UCSB was a career-high and tied an MPSF single-game scoring mark.

Her 17 goals over the course of five games brought her all-time total up to 202, which ranks eighth in USC history. She needs just three more to move into the No. 7 slot. Haralabidis will get that chance when the Trojans compete in the Cal Baptist Invitational starting on Saturday.


Queen of the Conference

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Yesterday, Gabby Smith of USC women's tennis earned the Pac-12 Player of the Week award for her personal and team achievements.

Click here for the full release!

Smith went undefeated in the National Collegiate Tennis Classic last week, which included an upset of the tourney's top-seeded player. After that, she helped her team earn a 5-2 win over UC Santa Barbara in its first dual match of the season.

Smith and her doubles partner Zoe Katz fell, 6-4, in doubles, but Smith dug in to win her singles match. She eked out a 7-6 (5) win in the first set, but found her rhythm and shut out her opponent in the second set.

This is the second time in Smith's career that she's earned Pac-12 Player of the Week. She sets her sights on another when USC heads to Auburn, AL for ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Jan. 28. The Trojans' next home match is on Feb. 1 vs. San Diego State.


Vote On

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Last week, Dominique Randle of USC women's soccer represented the Pac-12 at two important conferences intended to improve the lives of student-athletes.

Randle, who is working towards a Master's of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs, was one of just 15 student-athletes at the Autonomy Meeting (three representatives from each Power Five conference) and one of 32 at the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Meeting (one representative from each Division-I conference).

IMG_6641.JPGThe D-I SAAC Meeting focused on goals for the upcoming year, including helping student-athletes become more financially literate and giving them more time off, especially during the summer.

At the Autonomy Meeting, Randle voted on over 10 pieces of legislation that will go into effect on Aug. 1. These included time balance reforms, concussion protocol and independent medical care, cost of attendance reforms and more.

While working to effect positive change, Randle also got the opportunity to network with former student-athletes who have made names for themselves. She met with Troy Vincent, the EVP of Football Operations for the NFL, and Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair of Public Policy at Ernst & Young (pictured).

Randle said that Vincent detailed the things he thought student-athletes often lacked upon graduation. Randle aims to integrate what he said into her academic research, which she hopes will help her achieve her goal of becoming an athletic director one day.

Randle was also especially inspired by Brooke-Marciniak's story of using her platform to advocate for gender equality in the workplace and LGBT inclusion as well as her numerous philanthropic endeavors.

"It was absolutely incredible to hear her speak about her experiences as a student athlete and how we have such a great opportunity to be leaders, not only on the field and in the classroom, but around the world," Randle said.

Randle learned not only the stories of Vincent and Brooke-Marciniak, but those of dozens of student-athletes around the country -- from schools such as Marquette, Manhattan College, Brown, Sacred Heart, Temple, UAB and more. She said the most valuable lesson she learned was to use her voice to advocate for others.

"When you're in this position it's easy to think about your team, and how it would affect me. But meeting other people and discussing it was really eye-opening," she said. "This school has 21 sports, but there are thousands of student-athletes in Division I, so just to be able to have that vote and that voice came with the responsibility of being able to fairly represent them."


USC MVB - Week 3 Recap

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USC men's volleyball dropped its matches to No. 11 UC Santa Barbara and No. 2 UCLA this week despite impressive play from veteran Lucas Yoder and freshman Aaron Strange.

The Trojans now sit at 2-5 on the season (1-3 in MPSF) play and must prepare for three straight road matches.

Head coach Jeff Nygaard sat down to discuss how his team has improved this season and what it still needs to work on in his weekly recap:


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On Saturday, Trojans Taylor McNamara and Leon McQuay III competed in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, FL.

Playing just an hour away from his hometown, safety McQuay III racked up two tackles despite leaving briefly due to injury. Tight end McNamara made one 13-yard catch to help the West team win, 10-3, in front of a crowd of more than 22,000.

Last year, more than 90 players from the East-West Shrine Game signed with an NFL team, and more than 70 made a final NFL roster. McNamara (pictured) and McQuay III hope to become the next in line during the 2017 NFL Draft, which takes place from April 27-29 in Philadelphia.


Mr. One Thousand

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On Thursday night, USC men's basketball captain Jordan McLaughlin hit 1,000 career points as a Trojan.

With his last bucket in the game, he hit the mark on the head, becoming the 37th player in USC history to do so.

McLaughlin added 18 more points on Sunday night vs. ASU, bringing his all-time total to 1,018 points. This year, the Etiwanda, CA native is tied for the team lead with 14.1 points per game, and leads the team with 5.1 assists per game, which ranks third in the Pac-12. He's also third in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3).

McLaughlin is on pace for 437 points this regular season, which would give him 1,159 overall and catapult him into a tie for 24th all-time on USC's scoring list.

The next chance for McLaughlin to tack some points on comes on Wednesday vs. No. 3 UCLA. The game tips at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on FS1.


McGillen Galleries: USC vs. ASU

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USC men's basketball found shelter from the rain inside the Galen Center on Sunday night, posting an 82-79 victory over Arizona State. The Trojans connected from three 14 times and shot over 50 pct from the floor overall.

Team photographer John McGillen captured all the action of USC's fourth Pac-12 win.

Starting Strong

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No. 18 USC women's tennis got the season started on the right foot with a 5-2 win over UC Santa Barbara this weekend.

Click here for the full recap!

After a nearly three-hour rain delay on Thursday, the Women of Troy got started against the Gauchos by winning the doubles point. In both doubles and singles, USC lost at the No. 1 spot, but the Trojans demonstrated a team effort in locking up the win.

In singles, the Trojans were victorious at the No. 2, 4, 5 and 6 slots. Junior Madison Westby closed the match out with a win that required some guts.

Next up for the Trojans is a trip to Auburn, AL for ITA Kick-Off weekend.

Off to the Races

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After months of preseason action, USC men's tennis finally kicked off its dual match competition with three wins this week.

The No. 10 Trojans cruised to a 6-1 win over UC Santa Cruz, a 7-0 win over UC Riverside and a 6-1 win over UC Irvine.

USC got off to a hot start in all three matches by winning the doubles point. Head coach Peter Smith started three different players at the No. 1 spot in singles, though. Junior Thibault Forget, ranked No. 114 in the nation, earned the nod against UCSC. Against UCR, freshman Brandon Holt, ranked No. 20, started at the top spot, while No. 28 Logan Smith did so against UCI.

With a few wins under their belt, the Trojans now set up for ITA Kick-Off Weekend at Marks Stadium.


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USC women's water polo picked up where it left off last year, drumming up a flurry of wins in its first tournament of 2017 this weekend.

Over the course of just three days, the No. 2 Women of Troy won five matches to open their season 5-0.

USC competed in the UCSB Winter Invitational in Santa Barbara, CA against No. 8 Michigan, Cal Baptist, Cal State Northridge, No. 5 Hawai'i and No. 9 UCSB.

In those five games, the Trojans outscored their opponents by a total of 81-20 for an average margin of victory of 12.2 goals. Senior Stephania Haralabidis was a large part of the team's offensive success, scoring 17 goals on the weekend. Nine of them came in one game (vs. UCSB), which tied the MPSF single-game scoring record.

Next up for the Women of Troy is the Cal Baptist Invitational this weekend, where they'll face Concordia and Whittier.


Trojans Down Devils

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Trojans Down Devils


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Yesterday, Toronto Raptors guard and USC alum DeMar DeRozan was named a starter for the Eastern Conference in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.

DeRozan becomes the first Trojan to start in an All-Star Game since Gus Williams did so in 1982.

DeRozan, who ranks fifth in the NBA with 28.2 PPG this year, will make the third All-Star appearance of his career. He's also averaging 5.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game for the Raptors, who are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference.

In his sole year at USC (2009), DeRozan averaged 13.9 PPG, which was the fifth-most of any freshman in USC history. He was drafted No. 9 overall by the Raptors in 2009, and has led the team in scoring three times in his young career (not including this season).

Catch DeRozan in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 19 on TNT.


Down to the Wire

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USC men's basketball mounted a furious comeback but fell just short of an upset over No. 14 Arizona last night.

Click here for the full game recap.

The Trojans mustered just 19 points in the first half, and the Wildcats established a 23-point lead early in the second. But USC dug in and started sinking shots, including five 3s from Elijah Stewart, who finished with a team-high 20 points.

Jordan McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu also got hot, racking up 14 points and 11 points, respectively.

USC cut the deficit to just three points with one minute to go, but Arizona's Lauri Markkanen banked in a shot from downtown, which McLaughlin called a "heartbreaker" after the game. In the end, USC fell by a score of 73-66.

Click here for highlights!

USC team photographer John McGillen was at the Galen Center last night to capture every second of the near-comeback:

Just Out of Jaco's Reach

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Last night, USC women's basketball fell to No. 11 UCLA, but Courtney Jaco's career showing was a bright spot for the Trojans.

Click here for the full game recap.

Jaco racked up 27 points and hit seven 3-pointers, both new career marks for the senior. In doing so, she moved into No. 2 in USC's all-time 3-pointers made list. She now has 184 in her USC career.

Despite Jaco's impressive output, the Trojans fell, 74-59. Team photographer John McGillen captured all the action at the Galen Center last night.

2017 USC Football Schedule

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Schedule-2017.jpgUSC football will earn its Thanksgiving feast this year. The Trojans will play 12 consecutive weeks without a bye this season for the first time since 1995 as part of the 2017 schedule which features seven home games (all on Saturdays).

Click here for 2017 season ticket information!

USC has once again challenged itself with one of the most daunting schedules in the nation, including marquee non-conference matchups against Texas (September 9 at the Coliseum) and Notre Dame (October 21 in South Bend). The Trojans will host Western Michigan, the nation's top Group of Five team last year, on September 2 to kick off the new season.

Riding a nine-game winning streak, the second longest in the nation, the reigning Rose Bowl champions will be tested early and often in conference play. Stanford comes to the Coliseum in Week 2 (September 9) as part of a three-game home stand that will energize the Coliseum from day one.

Click here for more on the schedule.

USC will then play four of its next six on the road, including a Friday night game at Washington State, the lone weekday game on the schedule this season. The Trojans will visit the Cougs and host Oregon State in 2017 after missing both schools in 2015 and 2016. USC will not play Washington or Oregon this year unless the teams battle in the Pac-12 Championship Game on December 1 or 2.

Click here for all the Pac-12 football schedules.

The Trojans will close the regular season by visiting Colorado, the defending Pac-12 South champions, and hosting UCLA at the Coliseum on Saturday, November 18. USC will be off for Thanksgiving weekend, hopefully preparing for the Pac-12 Championship Game the following week.

USC MVB - Week 2 Recap

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After two hard-fought losses to Top 15-ranked teams, USC men's volleyball bounced back this week with an upset win over No. 3 Long Beach State. The Trojans couldn't hold on to their momentum, though, falling in three sets to No. 13 Cal State Northridge just three days later.

USC head coach Jeff Nygaard discussed the potential he saw in his team during the upset and dubbed senior outside hitter the team's "work horse" in his Week 2 recap.

Have You Herd of Zach Banner?

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Today, USC All-American OT Zach Banner stopped by "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd on FS1. A former FOX intern, Banner finally got a chance to sit on the couch and chat with Cowherd and Kristine Leahy about winning the Rose Bowl, preparing for the 2017 NFL Draft and more.

Bring the Heat

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Tomorrow night, USC men's basketball faces one of its toughest tests of the season when No. 14 Arizona comes to town.

Click here for the full preview!

The Trojans (16-3, 3-3 Pac-12) are fresh off a road trip where they split games with Utah and Colorado. The Wildcats, meanwhile, are winners of 10 straight and have not yet lost a conference game (5-0). Arizona's only losses this season have come at the hands of now-No. 13 Butler and now-No. 4 (and undefeated) Gonzaga.

Arizona's Finnish freshman Lauri Markkanen (16.7 PPG) leads the five Wildcats averaging double figures this season. USC boasts four such players, with sophomore Chimezie Metu paving the way (14.1 PPG).

Metu and the Trojans will have to give their all to replicate the results of USC's last home game vs. Arizona: a 4OT, 103-101 win for the Trojans last year.

This year, the Trojans will have to find a way to beat the Pac-12's top scoring defense (61.6 PPG allowed). The Wildcats are also the third-best shooting team in the conference in terms of both field goals and three-pointers. Their three-point defense is tops in the Pac-12, as is their defensive rebounding.

Tip-off is at 6 p.m. tomorrow night at Galen Center, and the game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.

Click here to purchase tickets before they sell out!

Trojan of the Week: Chimezie Metu

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The Trojan Family voted USC sophomore Chimezie Metu the Jersey Mike's Trojan of the Week for men's basketball on the back of two strong performances against Utah and Colorado.

While Metu's 17 points paced the Trojans in the blowout loss to Utah, he put in his most impactful shift of the season in the dramatic win over Colorado. The big man made 11 of 14 from the field, including the game-winning hook shot, en route to a career-high 24 points.

Metu has been trending up for some time now. He has scored in double figures in 16 of 19 games this season, including 14 of the last 15. Last year, he reached double digits in scoring just six times.

He now leads the Trojans in scoring (14.1 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg) and blocks (1.7 bpg). While he has always been efficient from the field, Metu's biggest improvement has been at the foul line. He jumped from 51% last season to 75% so far this season.

Metu and the Trojans take on Arizona (Thursday at 6 p.m. PT) and Arizona State (Sunday at 5:30 p.m. PT) inside the Galen Center this week. Click here for tickets and follow USC men's basketball on Twitter and Instagram.


Reign On

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Lr_USC_waterpolo_ncaa_championship_stanford_hr_mcgillen_4463.jpgOn Friday, reigning national champion USC women's water polo begins its title defense.

Despite finishing undefeated and on top of the national rankings last year, the Trojans enter the 2017 season at No. 2 in the country. They'll put that ranking to the test at the UCSB Winter Invitational this weekend, where they open with No. 7 Michigan.

USC returns three first-team All-Americans in goalie Amanda Longan, driver Stephania Haralabidis and 2-meter player Brigitta Games. Haralabidis, who won the 2016 Peter J. Cutino Award (considered the Heisman Trophy of water polo), led the team with 63 goals last year. She and her twin sister, Ioanna, who ranked third on the team with 34 goals in 2016, enter their senior season trying to make one final splash.

Eight freshmen join the fold this season, including U.S. National Team member Paige Hauschild and two Canadian National Teamers: Nina Ceklic and Verica Bakoc. They'll help the Trojans compete in events such as the Cal Baptist Invitational, the Whittier Invitational, the Triton Invitational and the UCI Invitational.

The team hopes that after all that, they land a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Jovan Vavic has some experience there, as he's fresh off taking the men's team to the national title game. He's won 14 titles overall and aims for No. 15 this season.

Follow along on Twitter as USC women's water polo goes for a repeat.

Golden Goalies

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USC_lacrosse_UC_davis_mcgillen_HR-3423.jpgBack in August, over 100 players tried out for the 2017 U.S. Women's National Lacrosse Team. Since then, three rounds have cuts have been made to whittle the team down to just 18 players. Of those final 18, only two are goalies, and both are members of USC's women's lacrosse program.

Junior goalie Gussie Johns and USC associate head coach Devon Wills made the final cut for the team that will compete at the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's World Cup from July 12-22 in Guildford, England.

Wills, a two-time world champion with U.S.A. Lacrosse already, has undoubtedly made an impact on Johns during her time at USC. Johns led the nation in goals-against average in 2016 (6.04 gaa) and was All-MPSF and IWLCA All-Region. She led the nation's No. 1 scoring defense (5.80 gaa) and was the team's leader in ground balls (49).

Johns becomes the first Trojan lacrosse player to ever make the World Cup roster. Before she sets her sights on the World Cup, though, she must take on USC's 2017 season. Wills, Johns and the Trojans get started on Feb. 11 vs. St. Mary's, with hopes to take the next step and win a national championship.


Trojan Wish - Jayleen Cox

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IMG_0493.JPGOn Friday, a young man named Jayleen Cox attended the first sporting event of his life.

Eighteen-year-old Jayleen and his family watched the USC women's basketball game vs. Oregon on Friday night as part of USC's Trojan Wish program.

Jayleen was diagnosed with a mild case of autism at the age of two and by four years old he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Jayleen lost his ability to walk at age 10 and has been in a power wheelchair ever since.

Recently, an organization called Walking Strong gifted the Cox family a wheelchair accessible 2016 Dodge Caravan minivan, allowing them to take their son out to places that weren't possible after he became wheelchair-bound.

This included Friday night's women's basketball game, where Jayleen got a pair of USC sunglasses and a fanny pack, met USC's Song Girls, participated in the high five line and player intros, and watched the game courtside with his family.

Click here to learn more about Walking Strong and here to keep up with the latest Trojan Outreach events.

2016 #USCtotheNFL Divisional Round

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Nick-nfl.jpgHeading into the third round of the NFL Playoffs, three Trojans remain in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy.

In this weekend's Divisional Round, the Falcons beat the Seahawks, knocking out USC alums Pete Carroll and Mike Morgan. One more Trojan went down when, despite Brian Cushing's 4 tackles and a sack, the Patriots bested the Texans.

Packers linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews and Steelers tight end Xavier Grimble are the three players still representing USC.

Perry racked up 4 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits and 1 pass defended, while Matthews added 1 tackle and 1 QB hit to help the Packers top the Cowboys on Sunday.

Grimble took two snaps on offense and one on special teams in the Steelers' win over the Chiefs.

This Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PT, Perry, Matthews and the Packers take on the Falcons in the NFC Championship. Just after, at 3:40 p.m. PT, Grimble and the Steelers face the Patriots in the AFC title game.

Perry, Matthews and Grimble are looking to add to the list of 110 Trojans to appear in a Super Bowl. Last year, USC's only representative was Panthers center Ryan Kalil. The year before that, USC produced three Super Bowl champs, in linebackers Mike Morgan and Malcolm Smith, and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

Click here to learn more about Eat the Ball!

Back-to-Back Bruin Battles

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USC_womens_basketball_ucla-2687.jpgUSC women's basketball aims to stop a five-game skid when it hosts No. 11 UCLA tomorrow night. It's the first of two games in a row against the Bruins, as the Trojans head to Pauley Pavilion on Sunday for another crosstown showdown.

Click here for the full preview!

A little over a year ago, unranked USC toppled No. 15 UCLA at the Galen Center, and tomorrow night, the 10-7 Trojans will fight for a similar upset. This season, UCLA is 13-4 and has three players averaging double figures: Monique Billings (18.0 pts and 10.9 reb), Jordin Canada (17.4 pts) and Kennedy Burke (12.4 pts). Though the Bruins are a respectable 4-2 in Pac-12 play, they've yet to win a conference road game.

Three Trojans also average double figures. Forward Kristen Simon is just shy of a double-double, with 15.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Guard Sadie Edwards averages 11.6 PPG, and freshman guard Minyon Moore (who made her first career start on Sunday) sits at 11.4.

Tomorrow night's matchup kicks off at 8 p.m. and the first 1,000 fans at the Galen Center will receive a gold USC basketball T-shirt.

For those not in attendance, the game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.

Click here for tickets!

Meet De'Anthony Melton

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USC_Mens_Basketball_McGillen_Hero_shoots_2016_761 2.jpgName: De'Anthony Melton

Position: PG

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Crespi (Encino, CA)

Game: Melton is a combo guard who handles point guard responsibilities when Jordan McLaughlin sits or plays off the ball. He is the ultimate "glue guy" who fills up the box score without being a dominant scorer at this stage of his career. He uses his long arms to create havoc on the defensive end, ranking third in the Pac-12 in steals. Offensively, he has a knack for hitting the clutch shot, which is one of the reasons the Trojans are 5-1 in games decided by five points or less.

Prep Career: Melton led Crespi to back-to-back state titles and departed as the school's all-time leading scorer. He was named the CIF Southern Section Division III Player of the Year. The North Hollywood native averaged 20.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.2 blocks per game as a senior.

USC head coach Andy Enfield on Melton: "I can't remember a time that our staff ever saw De'Anthony play a high school or AAU game where he didn't play well and fill up the stat sheet. We did not recruit him as a scorer, we recruited him as an all-around basketball player."

Fun Fact: He has five siblings, including four-year-old twin brothers, Damauri and Demani.

Here is Melton on the joy of representing his city and his family at USC:

Adoree' Goes

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USC CB-WR-RET Adoree' Jackson announced yesterday that he would forgo his senior season and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

In his three years at Troy, Jackson racked up 139 tackles, 6 INT, 92 rush yards, 628 receiving yards, 6 receiving TD, 2,141 kickoff return yards, 4 kickoff return TD, 578 punt return yards and 4 punt return TD.

Jackson cemented his place in USC's record books, departing as the Trojans' all-time leader in kickoff return yards and ranking No. 2 in kickoff return TD, No. 5 in punt return yards and tied for No. 1 in punt return TD.

This season, he led the team in all-purpose yards (1,230) and was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, the Thorpe Award winner (best DB in the nation) and a unanimous All-American. He was also a finalist for the Hornung Award and the Lott IMPACT Trophy Award.

Trojan fans might never forget his stunning INT vs. Colorado or his 3-TD game vs. Notre Dame this year.

Jackson joins WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and OL Damien Mama as USC's early entrants into the 2017 NFL Draft. Those three, along with USC's seniors, hope to hear their names called between April 27 and 29 at the Draft in Philadelphia.

California Queen

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Destiny Littleton had a pretty good weekend. Trojan fans might not know the USC women's basketball signee out of Bishop's (La Jolla, CA) yet, but she set California's all-time scoring record on Saturday and was named a McDonald's All-American on Sunday.

The 5-foot-9 guard dropped 30 points to bring her all-time total to 3,838 -- one point more than the previous record-holder, Charde Houston -- and she's still not done with her senior season.

Click here for the full release!

Littleton, who leads the nation with 51 PPG this season, was a lock for the McDonald's All-American Game. Current Trojans Jordan Adams and Sadie Edwards also earned the distinction during their high school years.

This year's McDonald's All-American game will take place on March 29 in Chicago.


Trojans Buck Buffs

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Chimezie Metu scored a career-high 24 points and the Trojans pulled off an important Pac-12 road win over Colorado last night.

Click here for the full recap!

After a loss at Utah, the Trojans got back to .500 in conference play with a 71-68 win in Boulder. Metu's 20 points in the first half helped the Trojans claw their way back from an 11-point deficit to head into the break down just 1.

Metu went to the bench with 3 fouls early in the second half, so his teammates stepped up. Guards Elijah Stewart and Jonah Mathews dropped 11 points each, and De'Anthony Melton pulled down 9 boards.

The Trojans earned a slight lead late in the game, and held on by hitting key free throws (in contrast to the first half) and responding to a Buffs three to take the lead with a go-ahead shot of their own. Metu came through in the clutch with a signature hook shot with 29 seconds to go to help USC win its second conference road game this season.

Next up for the Trojans is a homestand vs. Arizona and Arizona State. The Trojans host the Wildcats on Thursday at 6 p.m. and the Sun Devils on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Click here for tickets!

High Hopes

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USC_Lacrosse_Stony_Brook_McGillen_9201.jpgHeading into the 2017 season, four members of USC's women's lacrosse team were named to Face-Off Yearbook Preseason Division I All-America teams as published by Inside Lacrosse (ILWomen).

Click here for the full release!

Senior attacker Michaela Michael, who was named a third team All-American at the end of last season, made the preseason first team. In 2016, she led the MPSF in points per game (3.80), goals per game (3.15), draw controls per game (6.15), and game-winning goals (5).

Junior goalie Gussie Johns earned second team preseason All-American honors. Johns led the nation in goals-against average in 2016 (6.04) was named All-MPSF and IWLCA All-Region last year.

Junior defender Lydia Sutton was named to the preseason All-American third team. Last year, she caused 28 turnovers and caused 37 ground balls en route to All-MPSF second team honors.

Senior attacker Kylie Drexel earned preseason honorable mention honors. She, too, was an MPSF second teamer last year, after posting 40 goals and 18 assists.

The Trojans enter 2017 with a No. 6 preseason ranking and the desire to take the next step as a program: winning the national championship. Their 2017 season starts on Feb. 11 vs. St. Mary's.

Rose Bowl Poster

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The Trojan Family can savor the memories of the magical Rose Bowl Game victory over Penn State by purchasing a commemorative poster.

Click here to buy yours.

The limited edition championship poster captures images from the biggest moments of the game including Deontay Burnett's game-tying touchdown, Leon McQuay's interception and Matt Boermeester's winning kick.

Jimokes Wanted

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The USC football student managers are looking for fresh recruits to begin this spring. Here's their ad:

WANT TO WORK FOR THE ROSE BOWL CHAMPS? Try out for one of the coolest jobs on campus!  Every spring semester positions open up on the USC Football Student Manager squad.

This unique group on campus helps run every football practice, travels with the team on the road, and gets to watch games from the sidelines. You can also catch them rocking a bunch of Nike gear that comes along with the job.

Try outs start very soon this semester, so arrange your schedule accordingly if you are interested. You must be a full-time student. For more information, email Co-Head Managers Sam Salerno or and Marshall Cherrington for more information.


Mandy Moves Up

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mandy american flag.jpgThe good news just keeps coming for USC women's soccer alum Mandy Freeman.

A day after being selected No. 10 overall in the NWSL Draft, Freeman was selected to train with the U.S. Women's National Team during its January Camp. Freeman and four other players were held over from the U-23 camp, which ended yesterday, to give them an opportunity to make the official roster for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup.

Freeman finished her career at SC as a two-time Pac-12 first teamer, a second team All-American, a Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and a Senior CLASS Award candidate. This season, she started all 25 games for the national champions and played more minutes than anyone but her keeper.

As the center back, she helped her team finish in the nation's Top 10 in W-L pct, shutout percentage and goals-against average.

To stay up-to-date on Freeman, follow USC women's soccer and the U.S. National Team on Twitter!

Aussie Aussie Aussie

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On Monday, the 2017 Grand Slam tennis season kicks off with the Australian Open.

USC men's tennis legend Steve Johnson enters 2017 aiming to make it his best season yet. Johnson, ranked No. 33 in the world, is fresh off a deep run in the ATP ASB Classic, where he upset John Isner before falling to Jack Sock in the semis. At No. 33, Johnson just missed out on being seeded at the Australian Open (the top 32 players earn a seed and are guaranteed to avoid other seeded players through the first two rounds).

In Round 1, he'll square up against Argentinean Federico Delbonis, who is ranked No. 42 in the world. Johnson is 1-0 against Delbonis in his career, with a win at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati in 2016.

Should Johnson advance, he'll face the winner of Martin Klizan and the No. 4 player in the world, Stan Wawrinka, who has won a Grand Slam event in each of the past three years.

Johnson fell in Round 3 of the Australian Open in 2015 and 2016, and will have to pull off a big upset to get that far this year.

The Australian Open will be broadcast on ESPN and the Tennis Channel from Jan. 16 to Jan. 29.


Trojans Go Cold in Utah

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Despite a red hot start, No. 25 USC men's basketball fell prey to a sharp-shooting Utah team last night in Salt Lake City.

Click here for the full recap.

The Trojans gave up their most points in regulation all season in the 86-64 loss, as the Utes shot 55.2 pct from the floor and 52.9 pct from three. USC was under 40 pct in both categories.

While the Utes had five players in double figures, Chimezie Metu was the only Trojan to accomplish that, leading the way with 17 points, plus 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. USC's bench provided a spark at times, as Jonah Mathews and Nick Rakocevic both posted 9 points. Their efforts cut the deficit to as few as 8 points in the second half, but Utah nailed shot after shot to maintain a steady lead.

Now, the Trojans take their 15-3 record into Boulder, CO, aiming to get back to .500 in conference play.

USC vs. Colorado tips at 5:30 p.m. PT on Sunday. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Trojans Shine on NWSL Draft Day

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12358538.jpegReigning national champion USC women's soccer had five players selected in yesterday's National Women's Soccer League Draft -- the most of any program in the country.

Click here for the full draft recap!

First off the board was midfielder Morgan Andrews, who went No. 3 overall to the Boston Breakers. Andrews, who scored 10 goals this season and was a finalist for the MAC Hermann Award, was USC's highest pick in a pro league since Amy Rodriguez went No. 1 overall in the 2009 WPSL Draft. The Milford, NH native gets to play pro ball just an hour from where she grew up.

The very next pick in the draft was defender-midfielder Kayla Mills, as New Jersey's Sky Blue FC took the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and 2016 Pac-12 first teamer with the No. 4 spot. With its next pick at No. 10, Sky Blue chose USC's Mandy Freeman, the 2016 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Mills and Freeman were stalwarts on a defense that allowed just 11 goals in 25 games for the nation's seventh-best goals-against average. They also helped set a program record with seven straight shutouts. In addition to working well together on the pitch, Mills and Freeman are best friends.

While USC had three players drafted in the first round, no other school had more than one.

In the second round (No. 16 overall), the Seattle Reign selected forward Katie Johnson, the hero of the national title game. The forward scored 10 goals this year, including two in the NCAA championship. She earned Most Valuable Offensive Player of the College Cup for her efforts.

USC's final player off the board was goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme. She was taken No. 31 overall and will join Andrews in Boston. The Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year set a USC record with 15 shutouts this year and ranked in the nation's Top 10 in shutouts, goals-against average and save pct.

On the Road Again

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USC men's basketball looks to bounce back from a narrow loss to Cal with a two-game road trip starting tonight.

Click here for the full preview!

The No. 25 Trojans (15-2, 2-2 Pac-12) take on Utah (11-4, 2-1) tonight at 6 p.m. PT, aiming to end a seven-game losing streak against the Utes. Utah is led by forward David Collette (15.4 PPG) and guard Sedrick Barefield (11.9 PPG).

USC's highest scorer thus far is point guard and team captain Jordan McLaughlin (14.5 PPG). He's dished out 5.1 assists per game, most often to USC's two other highest scorers: Elijah Stewart (13.9) and Chimezie Metu (13.4).

After taking on the Utes, USC heads to Boulder to face the Colorado Buffaloes (10-6, 0-3) on Sunday. Guard Derrick White's 15.8 PPG pace the Buffs, who have lost three straight and have a tough test in UCLA tonight.

Tonight's matchup with Utah will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network at 6 p.m. Sunday's game will be broadcast on ESPNU at 5:30 p.m.

Check out the team on Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates!


Trophy Tour

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On Jan. 2, USC football brought home the coveted Leishman Trophy by beating Penn State, 52-49, in the 2017 Rose Bowl Game.

Starting today, Trojan fans have the opportunity to snap a photo with the trophy when it goes on tour. Fans can find the trophy at the USC Bookstore on the University Park Campus today (Jan. 12), from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Tomorrow (Jan. 13), the Leishman Trophy makes its way to the USC Bookstore at the Health Sciences Campus from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

On Saturday (Jan. 14), the trophy will be presented at Trojan Town South Coast Plaza from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

On Tuesday (Jan. 17) fans can catch the trophy at the Nike Store at The Grove from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pick up some Rose Bowl champs gear in stores or online!


Career After Next

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USC All-American RT Zach Banner will leave college prepared to succeed in two different professions, football and broadcasting. While the NFL Draft and a professional football career will come first, the gregarious senior has the natural talent and work ethic to excel behind the microphone whenever his playing days are done.

Banner has been named the recipient of the 2017 Tom Harmon/Jerry Clark Memorial Scholarship, a $5,000 grant presented by the Southern California Sports Broadcasters to a local-area college student who has an interest in pursuing a degree in broadcasting or a related field with the ultimate goal of a professional career in radio, television or online broadcasting.

He will receive the scholarship at the SCSB's annual awards luncheon on Jan. 30 in Toluca Lake, Calif.

Banner, a 3-year starter at right tackle, was an All-American first team pick on USC's Rose Bowl champion squad in 2016 and was a 2-time All-Pac-12 first teamer. He was among 10 finalists nationally for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award, given to the nation's top senior who excels in community/classroom/character/competition. He also won USC's Community Service Award this season, devoting more than 350 hours to community outreach efforts in his career. He received his bachelor's degree from USC in communication and is now working on a second bachelor's in sociology. He has interned with FOX Sports and USC Sports Properties.


Upset City

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USC men's volleyball bounced back from two straight losses to upset Long Beach State at the Galen Center last night.

Click here for the full recap!

The unranked Trojans hosted the No. 3 49ers in their home opener, and pulled off a four-set win (25-19, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22). Senior outside hitter Lucas Yoder racked up 28 kills and 6 digs to lead the way along with teammate Andy Benesh, who hit .526 with 12 kills, 5 digs and 4 blocks.

After the match, USC head coach Jeff Nygaard insisted the Trojans could beat anybody. Watch his full post-game interview here!

The Trojans gear up for another upset opportunity when No. 13 Cal State Northridge comes to town on Saturday at 7 p.m. Click here for tickets!

Hoopin' at Home

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_DSC0784.jpgUSC women's basketball aims to shake a three-game losing streak when Oregon and Oregon State come to town this weekend.

Click here for the full preview.

On Friday night, the Trojans, who are unranked but received votes in the latest AP Poll, host the 12-5 Ducks, with whom they split matches last year. USC will honor America's military with Joint Forces Appreciation Night and the first 250 fans will receive a commemorative long sleeve shirt.

The Trojans face a tougher test against No. 10 Oregon State on Sunday night. Beavers guard Sydney Wiese averages 16.3 PPG and dropped 26 points in OSU's OT win over Stanford on Jan. 8, which helped OSU earn NCAA Team of the Week honors. USC aims to stop a five-game losing streak against the Beavers on an SC Sunday.

Junior forward Kristen Simon leads the Trojans into battle, averaging nearly a double-double this season (15.7 points, 9.7 rebounds per game). Guards Minyon Moore (12.2) and Sadie Edwards (10.5) are also scoring in double figures this year.

Click here for tickets to USC vs. Oregon on Friday at 8 p.m. and here for tickets to USC vs. Oregon State on Sunday at 3 p.m.!

Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Ida Jacobsen

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

Jacobsen, Ida Gørtz.jpgName: Ida Gortz Jacobsen
Class: Junior
Sport: Rowing
Majors: Global Studies and Comparative Literature
Minor: Architecture
GPA: 3.83

Aubrey Kragen (AK): Can you tell me a little bit about the Global Studies program here and why you decided to study it?

Ida Jacobsen (IJ): Actually, I came in as an Anthropology major, but Global Studies is in the Anthropology department. Global Studies is more interdisciplinary, so I can take International Relations, Political Science and Comparative Literature classes for it. It has an Anthropology profile, so I take most of my classes in the Anthropology department. I took summer school in Paris with the IR program.

AK: What was studying in Paris like?

IJ: It was super fun. It was six weeks in Paris with 10 other USC students at the American University of Paris. I got to meet a lot of people outside of athletics, which was nice because it's hard to find friends outside sometimes, because we spend so much time on the team with each other. But it was a great experience -- I loved my professor there and I got to travel around Paris. It was about the European Union and politics issues in the past and the future. I'm from Denmark, so I find that very relevant.

AK: And how did you end up with an Architecture minor? I've heard it's a really rigorous program at USC.

IJ: I love the discipline and the creativity. I had a two-week internship in high school at a drawing studio in Copenhagen, and I've always liked looking at buildings and art. For me, it was just a good way to think creatively or think about the role of architecture, because it's all around us. I took a workshop class and loved it, and I've just been taking classes ever since.

AK: It sounds like you have a wide range of interests, so do you have a good idea of what you want to do career-wise, or are you still exploring?

IJ: I think I'm still exploring. I'm hoping that within the next year and a half, I'll have something more decisive. But I was really glad I took up the Comparative Literature major a year ago, because I love the interdisciplinarity of Global Studies, but Comparative Literature just grounds you in one field and you get to work with those texts deeply and very analytically. And I think that's really important because often you skim texts, and for me it's important to stay in those details and ask those questions that we don't always ask. So career-wise, maybe something in literature, but it all depends. I would love to go to graduate school, and I might want to go closer to home, either in Denmark or maybe Sweden or England.

AK: How did you end up at USC after growing up in Denmark?

IJ: I received a message from our assistant coach once, basically saying, "Have you thought about going to school in the U.S. and rowing?" I was taken aback by it and I didn't really know at first, because not a lot of people that I know had done that in the rowing world. But I was sure that I didn't want to go straight from high school to a university in Denmark; I wanted to do something fun to get out of that little country, so I took a chance and I just stuck with it. I wasn't sure when I came here whether I wanted to do just one or two years, but it just happened and I'm really glad it did.

AK: What's a typical day like balancing rowing practice with a double major and a minor?

IJ: I get up at 5:30 and we leave on a bus at 6 a.m. to practice on the water for 90 minutes to two hours. Then I get back and have class at 10, 11 or 12. Usually three to four hours of class per day. Then Monday, Wednesday, Friday we have afternoon practices as well. And then two practices on Saturday as well. So I try to get all my work done before 8 so I can totally focus on hanging out with friends or roommates after that.

AK: What is your involvement with the Oversight Committee for Athletic Academic Affairs (OCAAA)?

IJ: OCAAA is a mix of student representatives from athletics and faculty members from different departments, like Dornsife and the cinema and law school. We talk about issues relating to athletics and academics, because they often blend together, both in good ways and not-so-good ways. We work to make faculty and students more aware of the rules and who should report to who when something happens. I learn a lot while just sitting and listening in meetings. I've learned that USC really tries hard to make sure that things are done the right way.

AK: Lastly, what are some of the things you want to achieve at USC and beyond?

IJ: For athletics, we had three really good races in our offseason and a great training camp right before Christmas. It's been such a great energy, and I think if we can keep that energy going all the way through national championships, the goal could easily be being in the Top 3 or Top 6 of NCAAs, maybe even win a title. That would be great. Academically, just keep doing what I'm doing. I want to figure out a more set field to go into. I've had several classes that I've fallen in love with, but still finding out which field exactly or which language, which path I want to go.

Meet Jonah Mathews

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Jonah.jpgName: Jonah Mathews

Position: SG

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Santa Monica (CA)

Game: Mathews came to USC with the reputation as a sharpshooter, and while he is tied for third on the team with 20 made three-pointers, he has shown himself to be a complete player. Mathews has 20 steals on the season, including six against Wyoming and four against Stanford. The combo guard will continue to play a pivotal role off the bench for the Trojans, averaging 20+ minutes per game.

Prep Career: Mathews led the Santa Monica Vikings to a 30-3 record his senior year while averaging 24.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. He was named the 2016 CIF Southern Section Division 1A Player of the Year and also made the L.A. Times All-Area Team and honorable mention on the MaxPreps All-State team.

USC head coach Andy Enfield on Mathews: "He's earned his minutes defensively. He's our best on-the-ball defender, and he's very active."

Fun Fact: Mathews loves to dance.

Here is Mathews on the team's energy, his father's influence on him and more:

Big Cat is Big Time

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Jets DE Leonard Williams, who was named a first alternate when initial rosters came out, was promoted today to the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl.

A two-time All-American at USC, Williams led the Jets with 7.0 sacks this year en route to Team MVP honors. He finished the season with 68 tackles, 11 TFL, 19 QB hits and 2 forced fumbles.

Williams replaces Raiders defender Khalil Mack in this year's Pro Bowl. In doing so, he joins Cowboys OT Tyron Smith, Titans DT Jurrell Casey and Vikings DE Everson Griffen as USC's representatives in the all-star game. These four bump USC's all-time Pro Bowl total to 232 players.

The Pro Bowl will be played in Williams' home state of Florida (in Orlando's Camping World Stadium) on Jan. 29. It will be broadcast at 5 p.m. PT on ESPN.

Class of 2017: OL Andrew Vorhees

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When USC's spring semester commenced on Monday, four young men became the newest members of the Trojan Family.

After losing two senior All-American tackles in Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler, USC has a need for depth on the offensive line. Kingsburg, CA product Andrew Vorhees will provide just that. The 6-foot-6 lineman played on both sides of the ball and earned the 2016 All-Central Sequoia League Lineman of the Year award as a senior.

To see the entire 2017 class in action, purchase season tickets for the reigning Rose Bowl champions.

Class of 2017: LS Damon Johnson

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When USC's spring semester commenced on Monday, four young men became the newest members of the Trojan Family.

If Damon Johnson does his job well, you may never learn his name. That's the goal of any long snapper. The Trojans need to replace senior long snapper Zach Smith, who was rock solid throughout his USC career, and Johnson fits the bill as a five-star prospect at his position, ranked by Rubio Long Snapping. Johnson did not play football last season while he attended Citrus Junior College. As a long snapper at Glendora (CA) High, he had 6 tackles as a 2015 senior, 2 tackles as a 2014 junior and 1 tackle as a 2013 sophomore.

To see the entire 2017 class in action, purchase season tickets for the reigning Rose Bowl champions.

Class of 2017: QB Jack Sears

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When USC's spring semester commenced on Monday, four young men became the newest members of the Trojan Family.

USC football has had some recent luck with a quarterback out of San Clemente High, and the Trojans get another with the addition of pro-style passer Jack Sears. As a senior, he was named a 2016 Orange County Register All-Orange County first teamer and the All-South Coast League Offensive Player of the Year. Sears, who led the Tritons to the 2016 CIF State 1-A championship and CIF Southern Section Division 2 title, has been praised for his high football IQ, dedication to the film room and accuracy on downfield passes. In 2016, he completed 223-of-338 passes (66.0 pct) for 2,602 yards with 37 TD and just 6 INT. He ran for 1,135 yards on 171 carries (6.6 avg) with 9 TD and also hauled in an INT on defense.

To see the entire 2017 class in action, purchase season tickets for the reigning Rose Bowl champions.

Class of 2017: LB Tayler Katoa

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When USC's spring semester commenced on Monday, four young men became the newest members of the Trojan Family.

Tayler Katoa did everything for his high school team in Utah but drive the bus. As a senior, he played linebacker, defensive end and quarterback, making 36 tackles, 2 sacks and a fumble recovery for a TD on defense. He also ran for 784 yards on 117 carries (6.7 avg) with 14 TD and threw for 299 yards with 3 TD as a QB. At USC, he is expected to become a linebacker, joining a lineage that is second to none among college football programs. Katoa knows something about lineage as he comes from an extremely athletic family. His father, Fotu, was a tight end at BYU (1985, 1988-90), his mother, Elizabeth, was a distance runner at BYU in 1990, and his sister, Eliza, is a senior outside hitter on Utah's volleyball team.

To see the entire 2017 class in action, purchase season tickets for the reigning Rose Bowl champions.

2017 Season Tickets ON SALE NOW

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USC football started 2017 with a Rose Bowl victory that has the Trojan Family wishing next season started tomorrow. While you will have to wait a few months for kickoff, you can secure your season tickets right now.

Click here to purchase new season tickets for 2017!

The official schedule has not been released yet by the Pac-12, but USC's 2017 home slate is as good as any in the country. The Trojans will host seven games in the Coliseum, including Texas, Stanford and UCLA. USC will also welcome Western Michigan, Utah, Arizona and Oregon State.

New season tickets start at just $320 for all seven home games. Click here to purchase or call (213) 740-GOSC (4672).

Current season ticket holders can renew their tickets by going to and clicking on "Manage My Account" under football.

USC is riding a nine-game winning streak heading into the 2017 season after going 10-3 and finishing ranked No. 3 nationally in 2016, capped by the thrilling 52-49 last-second victory over Penn State in the Rose Bowl. The 2017 Trojans will be the 125th team in USC history.

Trojan of the Week: De'Anthony Melton

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The Trojan Family voted freshman guard De'Anthony Melton the Jersey Mike's USC Player the Week for his performances against Stanford and Cal.

Melton, who has started the last six games of the season after starting the year coming off the bench, averaged 12.5 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game in USC's two games last week.


2017 #USCtotheNFL Wild Card Weekend

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CLAY-nfl.jpgThe first weekend of the NFL Playoffs is in the books, and at least one Trojan advanced to the next round in every game.

In the Raiders-Texans game, Trojan linebackers Brian Cushing and Malcolm Smith faced off against each other. Cushing racked up 4 tackles, including 1 TFL, and Smith posted 3 tackles, 1 TFL and 2 passes defended. The Texans advanced with a 27-14 win over the Raiders, who are coached by Jack Del Rio -- a Trojan football player from 1981-84.

Former USC head coach Pete Carroll, now the Seahawks head coach, guided his team to a 26-6 win over the Detroit Lions. Trojan linebacker Mike Morgan took 3 snaps on defense for the Seahawks and 5 snaps on special teams.

Two Trojan tight ends saw their teams duke it out in the Steelers' 30-12 win over the Dolphins. Miami's Jordan Cameron is on IR due to a concussion, but Xavier Grimble took two snaps on offense for the Black and Gold.

In the last game of the weekend, Packers linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews topped Devon Kennard's Giants, 38-13. Kennard notched 1 defensive tackle and 1 special teams tackle. Perry mustered 1 QB hit, and Matthews had the defensive play of the game when he sacked NYG QB Eli Manning and forced a fumble, then raced after the ball for a fumble recovery. Matthews became the Packers' all-time postseason sack leader in the game.

Now, eight teams remain, and USC is represented on five of them.

Saturday at 1:35 p.m. PT, the Seahawks face the Trojan-less Falcons. At 5:15 p.m. that day, the Texans take on the Trojan-less Patriots. Sunday at 10:05 a.m. PT, the Steelers go up against the Chiefs, who have no Trojans. At 1:40 p.m. that day, five Trojans are in play when the Packers battle the Cowboys.

Never Too Early

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USC_Football_Rose_Bowl_2017_PSU_mcgillen_1720.jpgAlready thinking about the 2017 USC football season?

So are a number of media organizations, which couldn't wait to put out 2017 preseason Top 25 lists as soon as the clock hit zero in last night's national championship.

Sports Illustrated, ESPN and FOX Sports all ranked the Trojans in the Top 5 heading into next season.

The Trojans came in at No. 2 in SI's Way-Too-Early Top 25 for one reason: QB Sam Darnold. Only Alabama sits ahead of SC on the list.

ESPN, which put USC at No. 3 on its list, also noted that Darnold and at least five other returning starters on offense would lead the way next season, while recognizing that USC's nonconference slate (Western Michigan, Texas, Notre Dame) is one of the toughest in the nation.

FOX Sports slotted the Trojans at No. 4, behind Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson. FOX stressed the importance of replacing senior tackles Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler to protect "Heisman favorite" Darnold.

Want to catch the Trojans in 2017? Purchase season tickets by clicking here!


Fine Shrine

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After the culmination of their senior season, USC RB Justin Davis, TE Taylor McNamara and S Leon McQuay III have accepted invitations to the 2017 East-West Shrine Game.

Davis earned an invitation to the game for posting 607 rush yards, 112 receiving yards and 2 rush TD his senior year despite missing three games to injury.

McNamara racked up 111 receiving yards and a TD this year, plus a key catch on USC's two-point conversion attempt in the Rose Bowl Game.
McQuay III also came up clutch in the Rose Bowl Game, hauling in an interception to set up USC's game-winning FG. McQuay finished the year with 50 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 sack and 2 INT.

The all-star football game will take place in St. Petersburg, FL on Jan. 21 at noon and will be broadcast on NFL Network.


Senior Bowl Bound

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USC_Football_Rose_Bowl_2017_PSU_mcgillen_4981.jpgUSC's Zach Banner and Stevie Tu'ikolovatu have accepted invites to the Reese's Senior Bowl, giving them one last chance to show their stuff before the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Senior Bowl, which takes place on Saturday, Jan. 28 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL, features the top seniors in the nation and gives NFL coaches an up-close look at the players. This year, the Cleveland Browns coaching staff will lead the Senior Bowl's South team, and the Chicago Bears coaching staff will lead the North.

Banner, a team captain this year, anchored an offensive line that only allowed 12 sacks this season (T-6th-fewest in the nation).

Tu'ikolovatu arrived as a grad transfer from Utah this year and made an immediate impact. As the starting nose tackle, he racked up 53 tackles on the season, including 2 TFL. He earned Defensive MVP honors for leading the Trojans in tackles in USC's comeback win vs. Penn State in the Rose Bowl Game.

Last year, Cody Kessler and Soma Vainuku represented USC in the Senior Bowl. Kessler was drafted in the third round (No. 91 overall) by the Cleveland Browns, while Vainuku went undrafted but signed as a free agent with the Texans.

Catch Banner and Tu'ikolovatu in this year's Senior Bowl on Jan. 29 at 11:30 a.m. PT on NFL Network.


USC Fan Super Cut

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On January 2, the Trojan Family shared a magical moment together inside the Rose Bowl Stadium when Matt Boermeester split the uprights with the game-winning kick, so we spliced together some of your videos to capture the emotion from your perspective.

Three for Me

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Ranking.jpgWhen the dust settled on the 2016 college football season and the final AP Top 25 came out this morning, USC was slotted just behind the two national title contenders, at No. 3.

USC's No. 3 slot is its highest finish in the final AP ranking since the end of the 2008 season, when, coincidentally, the Trojans' 12-1 season culminated in a Rose Bowl win over Penn State. It's the highest ranking of any three-loss team in the history of the AP Poll.

The Trojans finish the 2016 football season ranked in the Top 20 of a number of important categories: Total Offense (No. 20), Third Down Conversions ( No. 11), First Downs (No. 12), Punt Return Avg (No. 6) and Sacks Allowed (No. 6).

First-year head coach Clay Helton is a finalist for the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award and was named FWAA's First Year Co-Coach of the Year. Freshman QB Sam Darnold was named the Rose Bowl Offensive MVP, a freshman All-American and the Archie Griffin Award winner for college football's MVP, while junior CB Adoree' Jackson won the prestigious Thorpe Award.

USC earned its first 10-win season since 2013 and its first Rose Bowl trophy since 2009. The Trojans head into 2017 with a strong group of young players ready to take this team to the next level.

Top Twenty Tennis

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USC_Tennis_Donor_Photos_IMG_1276.JPGThe 2017 men's and women's tennis seasons are right around the corner, and both USC squads enter the year ranked in the Top 20.

USC's men's team, which has won five of the last eight NCAA titles, is ranked No. 10 in the nation. After going 17-8 and advancing to the Sweet 16 last season, the Trojans lost just one senior and added a fresh crop of young talent. The Trojans start out with four ranked singles players and two ranked doubles teams.

Click here for the full men's tennis season preview!

Brandon Holt, who went 17-3 during the fall season, is the highest-ranked freshman in the nation, at No. 20. No. 28 Logan Smith, No. 88 Nick Crystal and No. 114 Thibault Forget follow in the ranks for USC. Smith and Forget partner up to make the No. 35 doubles team in the nation, while Smith and senior Rob Bellamy are ranked No. 49 together.

The Women of Troy, meanwhile, enter the season ranked No. 18 in the country, with three ranked singles players and two ranked doubles teams. USC went 13-6 overall and made it to the NCAA Second Round last year, and will aim to make its 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017.

Sophomore Jessica Failla sits at No. 46 in the nation, while junior Madison Westby and senior Zoe Katz rank No. 52 and No. 56, respectively. Katz and Gabby Smith comprise the No. 18 doubles team in the country, while Katz and Westby enter the season tied at 27th in the nation.

JuJu in that Draft

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JuJu.jpgThis weekend, USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster announced that he would forgo his senior season and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Long Beach, CA native departs USC as the school's fourth-most prolific pass-catcher, with 213 receptions in his three years. His 3,092 career receiving yards and 25 TD both rank fifth all-time at USC.

Smith-Schuster earned Pac-12 first team honors in 2015 for posting 89 catches, 1,454 yards (third-most in a single season in USC history) and 10 TD. He also earned AP, Football Writers, Sporting News, and Phil Steele All-American second team honors his sophomore year. This season, he led the team with 70 catches, 914 yards and 10 TD.

Smith-Schuster will be remembered for more than his impressive statistics year-in and year-out, though. His monster stiff-arm against Utah, thunderous block against Utah State and, of course, his "JuJu on that Beat" dance cemented his place in the hearts of Trojan fans everywhere.

When the 2017 NFL Draft is held from April 27-29 in Philadelphia, PA, Smith-Schuster will aim to be the ninth Trojan WR ever drafted in the first round.

McGillen Galleries: USC vs. Cal

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No. 25 USC men's basketball suffered a one-point loss at the hands of the Cal Bears last night. Trojans team photographer John McGillen caught every moment of USC's fight until the end in the Sunday night showdown.

Pro's Pro

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At the end of the Dallas Cowboys' impressive regular season, USC product Tyron Smith earned first team All-Pro honors for the second time in his career.

Smith started at left tackle in 13 of the Cowboys' 16 games this season and helped pave the way for rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to earn Pro Bowl honors. The Cowboys finished the season with the nation's No. 2 rushing attack (149.8 rush YPG) and the fifth-best total offense (376.7 yards per game), thanks in part to Smith's monster blocking.

Smith, who played at USC from 2008-10, won the Morris Trophy (best lineman in the Pac-12) and earned All-Conference honors in his final season.

Smith will go up against Trojan linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews when the Cowboys face the Packers this Sunday at 1:40 p.m. PT in the Divisional Round.

Tyron Smith.jpg

Wonder Kid

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SAMD_FRESHALLAM.jpgUSC QB Sam Darnold was named a 2016 First Team Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, the organization announced today.

Darnold was the only QB and one of just two Pac-12 players to make the cut. He did so by leading the nation's freshmen in TD passes (31), completion pct (67.2), passer rating (161.07) and yards per attempt (8.4).

Darnold set a number of USC records in his first year as a starter. He became the first Trojan to ever throw 5 TD in back-to-back games and the first freshman QB at USC to ever throw more than 30 TD in a season. His 250 rush yards were the most in a season by a USC QB since Reggie Perry had 254 in 1991 and his nine straight multi-TD games are the most since Matt Leinart posted 15 straight from 2003-04. Darnold also set two Rose Bowl Game records in USC's 52-49 win over Penn State: most TD passes (5) and total offense (473 yards).

Over the course of his freshman season, Darnold caught the eye of players, media members and fans alike, from Keyshawn Johnson to Kirk Herbstreit, Antwaun Woods and beyond. He also earned the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year Award and the 2016 Archie Griffin Award, given to college football's MVP.

Darnold, who becomes just the second Trojan to ever earn freshman All-American honors, heads into the 2017 season surrounded by an impressive young offensive corps, including Deontay Burnett and Ronald Jones. The future is bright.

Legendary Leinart

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Today, two-time national champion QB Matt Leinart became the 31st Trojan inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Click here for the full release.

In his three seasons at USC (2003-05), Leinart lost just two games, for a 37-2 overall record. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2004 and finished third in the 2005 Heisman vote while earning first team All-American honors both years. Leinart also won the Walter Camp Award, the Manning Award, the AP Player of the Year Award, the Pac-10 Player of the Year Award (twice) and the Rose Bowl MVP during his tenure at USC.

USC's now 31 players in the College Football Hall of Fame are the second-most of any school in the nation.

Leinart, now a college football analyst for FOX Sports, still frequents USC events, from men's basketball home stands to the Rose Bowl Game.

Matt Leinart.jpg

First Loss at Galen Center

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

Cal final.jpgNo. 25 USC men's basketball suffered a tough loss Sunday night to the California Bears after a hard-fought, back-and-forth contest.

Click here for the full recap.

Cal's 74-73 victory handed the Trojans their first loss at home this season. The Trojans now stand at 15-2 on the year and 2-2 in conference play. Despite the home loss, the Trojans remain an impressive 9-1 at Galen Center this season, after going 16-2 at home last year.

The Bears were able to pull out the victory much in thanks to strong play down the stretch from their big man Ivan Rabb. Rabb knocked down two free throws to put the Bears up 74-73 with five seconds left, then blocked USC PG Jordan McLaughlin's game-winning attempt on the other end.

Cal dominated the boards and shot 39 percent from deep, but a combined 40 points from McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu kept USC in the contest all night. The Trojans, however, were just 10-for-21 at the foul line.

Watch head coach Andy Enfield's post-game presser here.

Next up for the Trojans is a road trip that will take the team to Utah and Colorado. USC faces Utah on Thursday at 6 p.m. and Colorado on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

Trojans Roll Toward Super Bowl

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When the NFL Playoffs kick off today, 13 Trojans will be in the running to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Eleven players and two coaches with ties to USC will fight their way toward Super Bowl LI.

In the AFC, Brian Cushing's Texans take on Jack Del Rio and Malcolm Smith's Raiders in the first round. When the Steelers and Dolphins face off, Xavier Grimble will do all he can to lift his team over Jordan Cameron's.

In the first NFC Wild Card game, three Trojan linebackers will suit up: Clay Matthews and Nick Perry for the Packers, and Devon Kennard for the Giants.

The winners of that game could go up against All-Pro Tyron Smith (pictured), QB Mark Sanchez and the Cowboys in the Divisional Round. The Seahawks, featuring head coach Pete Carroll, LB Mike Morgan and RB Tre Madden, take on the Lions in the other NFC Wild Card Game.

At least one Trojan has appeared in 45 of the 50 previous Super Bowls, including eight of the last 10. Packers C Ryan Kalil was USC's sole representative last year. With a Trojan on eight of 12 NFL Playoff teams, there's a 67% chance that a Trojan will earn a Super Bowl ring this year.


Sights and Sounds: USC vs. Penn State

USC head coach Clay Helton asked his team for "60 minutes of fight" and that's exactly what the Trojans gave him.

Mama to the NFL

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USC junior offensive guard Damien Mama has decided to forgo his senior year and declare for the NFL Draft. He made the announcement along with a thank you letter to the Trojan Family on his Instagram page.

A photo posted by Damien Mama (@dmama51) on

McGillen Galleries: USC vs. Stanford

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USC men's basketball took down conference foe Stanford last night to move to 15-1 on the season. Trojan team photographer John McGillen was at the Galen Center to capture all the action!

Trojans Stifle Stanford

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Trojans Stifle Stanford

Short List

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Sophomore Deontay Burnett put in arguably the greatest performance by a USC wide receiver in Rose Bowl history. The argument, if you'd like to have it, comes down to the four men listed below: Burnett, Keyshawn Johnson, Dwayne Jarrett and Damian Williams.

Johnson and Jarrett were named Rose Bowl Game Offensive MVPs for their performances, while Burnett and Williams ceded to their QBs, Sam Darnold and Mark Sanchez. Burnett tied the Rose Bowl Game touchdown catch record and came up one short of the single game receptions mark, while Johnson and Jarrett are the only two receivers in history to top 200 yards in the Granddaddy of Them All.


Honor for Allyson

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USC alum and nine-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix was named the Los Angeles Sports Council's Sportswoman of the Year, the organization announced yesterday.

Felix, who has a degree in elementary education from USC, became the most decorated female track & field athlete in U.S. history at this summer's Rio Olympics. She won two gold medals (4x100m and 4x400m) and a silver medal in the individual 400m, making her the only woman in the world to win six Olympic golds in track & field and the only woman in America to ever win nine track & field medals.

Felix is now a three-time recipient of the Sportswoman of the Year Award, having also won it in 2007 and 2009.

This honor comes on the heels of Felix's selection as a Grand Marshal of the 2017 Rose Parade. She, Janet Evans and Greg Louganis served as ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses and Felix made an appearance on the USC sideline to cheer on her Trojans during their stunning Rose Bowl win.

Dazzling Darnold

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Once USC QB Sam Darnold assumed the starting role this season, he took the nation by storm. Darnold earned the respect of many USC alumni and national media members despite taking a loss in his first career start.

Since that loss to Utah on Sept. 23, the San Clemente native has led the team to nine consecutive wins, including an upset of then-No. 4 Washington and No. 5 Penn State in the 103rd annual Rose Bowl Game.

Darnold put together perhaps his best performance of the year at the Granddaddy of Them All, proving no stage is too big for the 19-year-old. He went 33-of-53 (62.3 pct) including a 10-of-10 clip in the fourth quarter to engineer the biggest comeback in Rose Bowl Game history. He finished with a Rose Bowl Game-record 5 TD passes and 473 total yards of offense.

Darnold's groundbreaking performance caught the eye of Cowboys rookie QB Dak Prescott, who's currently in the running for NFL Rookie of the Year and MVP.

Legendary wide receiver Terrell Owens was also impressed by the kid's game:

Trojan Heisman winner Matt Leinart has been one of Darnold's biggest proponent's all season, and offered perhaps his biggest compliment so far after the freshman earned Rose Bowl Game Offensive MVP:

ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit couldn't believe his eyes watching the freshman deal all game, and FOX Sports Radio host Clay Travis remarked on his poise under pressure.

The praise wasn't limited to those who had graced the gridiron or the broadcast booth, though. Darnold's performance even caught the eye of hip hop artist Plies.

Darnold heads into spring ball surrounded by a strong offensive corps, and the brightest days may lay ahead.


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USC_Football_Rose_Bowl_2017_PSU_McGillen_1501.jpgJust two days after being named the 2017 Rose Bowl Offensive MVP, USC QB Sam Darnold won the 2016 Archie Griffin Award, presented annually to college football's most valuable player.

Click here for the full release!

In his debut season, Darnold went 9-1 as a starter, completing 67.2 pct of his passes for 3,086 yards and 31 TD, with just 9 INT. There's no doubt that Darnold's 453 pass yards and 5 TD in the Rose Bowl Game made him a lock for the award, as the Archie Griffin Award is the only award that takes bowl games into account.

Darnold becomes the first-ever freshman to win the award and the second Trojan, as Matt Leinart earned it in 2003 and 2004. Last year's recipient was Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, and other past winners include Ezekiel Elliott, Jameis Winston, Andrew Luck and Michael Vick.

One Down

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Aiming to improve on last year's losing season, the USC men's volleyball team opened 2017 up with a 3-1 win over Concordia last night.

Click here for the full recap!

Freshman OH Aaron Strange made a statement in his debut as a Trojan, racking up 13 kills and hitting .667 with only 1 hitting error in 18 swings.

USC came from behind to win the first set, 30-28, but dropped the second set, 23-25, before hitting its stride and winning the last two sets, 25-13 and 25-18 to earn the 29th season-opening win in program history.

The win marks an immediate improvement from last season, when the Trojans under first-year head coach Jeff Nygaard opened up the season with six straight losses.

The Trojans also got big contributions from Lucas Yoder (9 kills, 5 digs), Andy Benesh (6 blocks) and Gert Lisha (3 aces).

USC has no time to celebrate, as the team heads straight to Columbus, OH for the AVCA Showcase Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. The Trojans face defending national champion Ohio State on Friday before taking on Penn State the next day.

The tournament will be a huge step in determining how far the team has come since going 7-19 last year.

Click here for a full season preview!

Boselli Breaks Through

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USC two-time All-American and College Football Hall of Famer Tony Boselli was named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 yesterday.

Boselli, who played offensive tackle at USC from 1991-94, was the first player ever drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars, when they selected him No. 2 overall in 1995. In his seven seasons with the Jaguars, he made three All-Pro teams and five Pro Bowls.

This is Boselli's first time as a finalist, after having made the semifinals for Hall of Fame induction last season. Should Boselli make the final cut this year, he would join USC's 12 other representatives in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only Notre Dame, with 13, has more.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be announced one month from today.

Tony Boselli.jpg

Coach 'Em Up

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USC_FOOTBALL_SPRING_BALL_031216_MCGILLEN_7363.jpgUSC quarterbacks coach and pass game coordinator Tyson Helton earned Football Scoop's Quarterbacks Coach of the Year Award, the organization announced yesterday.

In his first season at USC, Helton helped take Sam Darnold from a backup to a Rose Bowl MVP.

In Darnold's debut season, he went 9-1 as a starter and racked up 3,086 yards, 31 TD and a 161.1 passer rating, which ranked ninth in the nation. His 67.2 completion percentage, meanwhile, ranked No. 10 in the country. Nineteen-year-old Darnold was named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award and a finalist for the Manning Award. This week, he set Rose Bowl Game records for pass TD (5) and total offense (473 yards) and led the Trojans to a 52-49 win in their season finale.

Under Helton's guidance, the QB spread the ball out, hitting 10 different players for touchdowns. Helton made a name for himself at Western Kentucky by utilizing tight ends, and USC's Daniel Imatorbhebhe, Tyler Petite and Taylor McNamara combined for seven scores themselves this year.

This is Helton's first QB Coach of the Year Award, after being named a finalist last year.

AP All-Bowl Team

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USC had more players honored on the AP's All-Bowl First Team than any other school thanks to the performances of QB Sam Darnold, WR Deontay Burnett and S Leon McQuay III (pictured) in the Rose Bowl Game. Two more Trojans, RT Zach Banner and PK Matt Boermeester, earned honorable mention.

Click here for the complete AP All-Bowl Team.


360-Degree Rose Bowl Photo

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Were you one of the lucky fans to attend the 103rd annual Rose Bowl Game? Did you have a friend in the house for the instant classic?

If so, click here to find, tag and share yourself or a friend in the 360-degree photo taken right before kickoff. You can also purchase a commemorative panorama from USC's 25th Rose Bowl victory.


2016 #USCtotheNFL Week 17

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The NFL regular season is over, and a number of Trojans are looking ahead to the playoffs. As 2016 season statistics were finalized, many USC products came out on top in important team categories. Robert Woods led the Bills in receiving yards (613), while both Matt Barkley and Cody Kessler led their teams in passing yards and TD. Nick Perry led the Packers and finished in the NFL's Top 10 with 11 sacks. Leonard Williams led the Jets in sacks (7) as well and was named the youngest MVP in team history.

jurrellcasey-nfl.jpgThe Best

Titans team captain Jurrell Casey brought his A game in Tennessee's season finale, racking up 6 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 pass defended. He finishes the season with 44 tackles, 5 sacks, 18 QB hits, 8 tackles for loss and 5 passes defended. The Titans' season is over, but Casey will play in the Pro Bowl and is still in the running for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Vote for him by using the #CaseyWPMOYChallenge hashtag on social media!

The Best of the Rest

Shareece Wright, CB, Ravens - 4 tackles

Josh Shaw, CB, Bengals - 2 tackles

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars - 6 receptions for a team-high 86 yards

Matt Barkley, QB, Bears - 125 pass yards plus 1 receiving TD

Everson Griffen, DE, Vikings - 3 tackles, 1 fumble recovery

Robert Woods, WR, Bills - 4 receptions for 43 yards

Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB, Bills - 3 tackles, 1 pass defended

Kevon Seymour, CB, Bills - 2 tackles

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets - 2 tackles

Mark Sanchez, QB, Cowboys - 85 pass yards

Matt Cassel, QB, Titans - 150 yards, 1 pass TD

Antwaun Woods, DT, Titans - 3 tackles in his NFL debut

Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders - Game-high 12 tackles

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 255 yards, 3 TD

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT

Devon Kennard, LB, Giants - 2 tackles

Nick Perry, LB, Packers - 2 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 1 TFL, 1 pass defended

Check out Eat the Ball!

SooHoo Galleries: USC vs. Penn State

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The 103rd annual Rose Bowl Game was so momentous that we needed two photographers to capture every angle. Team photographer John McGillen's photos are below, while you can view three galleries from legendary Los Angeles sports photographer Jon SooHoo here.

McGillen Galleries: 103rd Annual Rose Bowl Game

Though they arrived at the Rose Bowl Stadium cool, calm and collected, the Trojans couldn't hide their emotion after winning their 25th Rose Bowl Game in stunning come-from-behind fashion. USC team photographer John McGillen was on the field to capture every second of the record-setting win.

Rose Bowl Trojan of the Game: Sam Darnold

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The Trojan Family voted USC QB Sam Darnold the Mercury Insurance Trojan of the Game for his record-setting performance in the 2017 Rose Bowl Game. The redshirt freshman passed for 453 yards and 5 touchdowns in USC's 52-49 victory over Penn State.


Championship Gear

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Everything Came Up Roses

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6-Points: USC 52, Penn State 49

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The Trojans rallied from 14 points down in the the fourth quarter to win the 2017 Rose Bowl!

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the Rapid Reaction.

Final-USC-PSU.jpegFight On

How do you sum up history? USC head coach Clay Helton resorted to words that he has said so many times, calling these Trojans "the embodiment of Fight On." It took every resilient ounce the Trojans could muster to pull out a Rose Bowl Game that mirrored the ups and downs of this season and this program's last eight years. "I felt in my gut that this was going to be a 60-minute game," said Helton. "They just found a way to get it done." Trailing 49-35, the Trojans won the fourth quarter, 17-0, to set off a celebration that exorcised years worth of frustration for the Trojan Family.

The Dream Kick

Overtime beckoned. The Trojans tied the game with 1:20 left on the clock, knowing they needed a defensive stop just to get to the extra session. Instead, Leon McQuay III, at the second time of asking, picked off Penn State QB Trace McSorley to tee up a 46-yard, walk-off field goal for Matt Boermeester. After the game, surrounded by teammates alternating between screaming and crying, USC's redshirt junior kicker was as cool as ice. He talked about his "process" and "technique", comparing the kick to every other one from his career. One day, Boermeester will fully understand that he drilled one of the most iconic field goals in USC history. "It hasn't really hit me yet," he admitted. "I'm just happy I got the opportunity to do so."

Young Jedi

USC redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold is not big on emotion either. The San Clemente kid displayed a "laser-like focus" for four quarters, according to his head coach, setting a Rose Bowl record with 5 touchdown passes en route to winning the offensive MVP award. He needed every one. Darnold also threw for 453 yards, three shy of a Rose Bowl record, and he needed every one of those too. Faced with having to move the team 80 yards in two minutes and without any timeouts, Darnold carved up the Penn State defense in 39 seconds to tie the game. "I love the quiet confidence about him," said Helton about his QB. "You never saw his demeanor change tonight."

The Blue Shirt

In less than a month, USC will celebrate its 2017 recruiting class at National Signing Day. As a "blue shirt", an unrecruited player who does not get announced until the fall when he enrolls, sophomore WR Deontay Burnett never got that moment. And while USC is dependent on five-star talents like Adoree' Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster, where would the Trojans have been tonight without Burnett? He finished his first Rose Bowl with 13 catches (a USC Rose Bowl record) for 164 yards and 3 TD (tying a Rose Bowl record). "I always dreamed of this. I always dreamed of coming to USC and playing in a Rose Bowl," said Burnett. "Every day I go against the best, and when you take that and translate it to Saturday, you have success."

Short Memories

After shutting out Penn State in the first quarter, the USC defense gave up touchdowns on seven consecutive Penn State drives. Instead of folding up shop, the Trojans fought back, blanking the Nittany Lions in the fourth quarter to provide the platform for a stirring comeback. "We hit a point where we said enough is enough," OLB Uchenna Nwosu said. "The offense did a great job and kept us in the game. They didn't give up. We knew we had an offensive brother so the defensive brothers had to come together." Senior DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu was named the Rose Bowl defensive MVP after leading the Trojans with eight tackles.

The Train Rolls On

With a Heisman candidate returning at quarterback and Rose Bowl momentum at their backs, the Trojans will steam into the offseason and set the highest goals in 2017. "I think it shows the progress of our football team as a whole," said Helton about the value of winning this game going forward. "We are definitely headed in the right direction with the experience and cohesiveness of this staff and some very talented young kids. I love where we are going. We are not a finished product. We believe in winning championships here." While Helton and the Trojans will not be satisfied until they are raising the Pac-12 and national championship trophies, for one night at least, the Trojan Family can exult in a magical day at the Rose Bowl.

Here are the game highlights from highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever:

2017 Rose Bowl Game: USC vs. Penn State

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No. 9 USC Trojans vs. No. 5 Penn State Nittany Lions

Rose Bowl Stadium at 2 p.m. PT on ESPN and WatchESPN

Saquon-Barkley.jpgNittany Lion to Watch: Sophomore RB Saquon Barkley

The Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year is the most complete back that the Trojans have faced all season. He ran for 1,302 yards and a conference-high 16 TD, plus he made 23 catches for 347 yards and 3 TD. Penn State would love nothing more than to come into Pasadena and show off the classic Big Ten power game by punishing USC with Barkley.

Click here for more on the Nittany Lions.

3 Keys

Strength vs. Strength

The USC offensive line against the Penn State front seven is the matchup to watch. The Trojans, led by All-American offensive tackles Chad Wheeler and Zach Banner, gave up only 11 sacks all season, the fewest in the Pac-12. The Nittany Lions, keyed by Evan Schwan and Garrett Sickels, racked up 39 sacks on the campaign, second in the Big Ten. With a rejuvenated JuJu Smith-Schuster ready to wreak havoc on the Penn State secondary, Penn State must pressure USC QB Sam Darnold into mistakes or the Nittany Lions will be at his mercy.

Rise and Grind

Penn State came out of the gates slowly on offense, being held to 191 total yards by Michigan and 276 total yards by Ohio State, but the Nittany Lions sprinted to the finish. Ultimately, PSU had the third best offense in the Big Ten, totaling 400+ yards of offense in each of the last six games. Penn State found its stride one explosive play at a time. The Nittany Lions broke 28 plays from scrimmage for 40 or more yards, the fourth most in the country. The USC defense struggled at times, particularly early (9 of 17 40-yard+ plays allowed in September), giving up big plays (third most in the Pac-12). The Trojans need to make Penn State earn every yard in Pasadena.

Cliches Win Championships

"We need to play 60 minutes of football." Yeah, it's a coaching cliche, but it holds true when playing Penn State, a renowned second half team. The Nittany Lions were down, 28-7, to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game before rallying to win, 38-31. "We need to dominate in all three phases." The focus is always on offense and defense, but special teams will be massive. Penn State upset No. 2 Ohio State thanks to a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. "Special players make special plays on special days." No shortage of star power in this game. Who wants to be a Rose Bowl hero?

Cardinal, Gold & Green

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USC_Football_Oregon_McGillen_11_05_16_ copy.jpgThe L.A. Memorial Coliseum, which the Trojans shared with the NFL's Los Angeles Rams this season, has hit its "Zero Waste" goal this year.

At the conclusion of tomorrow's Rams-Cardinals game, the Coliseum will become the largest NFL stadium and second-largest college stadium to meet the high sustainability goal of zero waste, which is defined as diverting 90 percent or more of waste materials from the landfill or incinerator, through recycling, composting or other repurposing.

All-in-all, stadium operators diverted more than 400,000 pounds of waste from over 1.2 million stadium guests, including up to 21 tons of waste per game.

"We're proud to be a part of a program such as the Zero Waste Initiative at the Coliseum," said USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann. "This is an opportunity for USC Athletics and our fans to lead the way in terms of taking ownership of our environmental impact on game days. Our university, fans and alumni should be proud of the success of this program."

Click here to learn more!