2000: Denmon will return as the starting center in 2000 and, if he can stay healthy, is looking to have a big senior season.
PAUL HACKETT SAYS: ?Eric is a solid player and has worked hard to get ready for his senior year. But he needs to stay healthy.?
1999: Denmon started 9 games (all but the Oregon State, Arizona and Louisiana Tech contests) at center as a junior in 1999. He appeared in 10 games overall (he played as Matt McShane?s backup at Arizona). He missed the Oregon State game with a sprained right knee which he suffered at Oregon and he missed the Louisiana Tech game with a sprained right ankle which occurred versus UCLA. He made 1 tackle (after a USC fumble at Notre Dame). He was a 1999 All-Pac-10 honorable mention pick. After the season, he had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.
1998: Denmon started 3 games (Purdue, Oregon and Washington) at center as a sophomore in 1998 and served as Matt McShane?s backup the rest of the season. Overall, he appeared in 11 games (he missed the Oregon State and Florida State games because of a sprained left ankle suffered against San Diego State).
1997: Denmon began his 1997 sophomore season as a backup center behind Jonathan Himebauch, but he tore cartilage in his left knee prior to the Washington State game and had arthroscopic surgery. Because of the early-season injury, he was allowed to redshirt. He did not see any action in the Florida State opener. He missed 1997 spring practice while recuperating from 1996 post-season arthroscopic knee surgery.
1996: Denmon served as the backup center behind Himebauch as a first-year freshman in 1996. He played briefly in 4 games (Illinois, Oregon State, Houston and Washington). After the season, he had arthroscopic surgery to remove cartilage from his right knee.
HIGH SCHOOL: He was selected to the 1995 Bluechip All-Southwest Super 25, Super Prep All-Southwest, Bluechip All-Southwest, All-State, All-District, All-Area and All-Metro teams as a senior center and linebacker at Carter High in Dallas (Tex.). Tom Lemming named him as the nation?s No. 1-rated prep center. He had 35 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions on defense in 1995. He made the 1993 and 1994 All-District teams. Carter went 28-6 in his 3-year career, including 10-0 in his 1993 sophomore year. He also played basketball, baseball and track at Carter.
PERSONAL: He?s a sociology major at USC. His cousin, Rod Jones, played for the Cincinnati Bengals. His sports hero is Michael Jordan.
ERIC DENMON ON:
Gaining 40 pounds since his sophomore season: ?I was used to being pretty careful about what I ate and only eating three meals a day. But the coaches told me I had to change my habits, eat as much as I could with five or six meals a day and a lot of protein, if I was going to get bigger?My favorite meal was chopped fried chicken and rice, covered in gravy, from a nearby soul food place. I?d eat there four or five times a week.?
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
Former USC offensive line coach Steve Greatwood: ?Eric is a great example of what you try to teach and coach. He?s a perfect role model for young kids of what you can do if you put your mind to it and compete. Some guys come to school assuming they are going to have immediate success, and when they don?t, they just resign themselves to being second- or third-stringers. But Eric fought through all of those things and told himself, ?I?m going to start,? and he did just that.?
USC offensive lineman Lenny Vandermade: ?Watching him shows me that even if you aren?t the biggest or strongest guy you canm dominate defensive linemen if your technique is sound and you do what your coaches tell you.?
ERIC DENMON CAREER STATISTICS