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.