2009: Pinkard will start for his third season as a senior in 2009, moving to strong safety after previously starting at cornerback. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after missing the 2006 and 2007 campaigns with injuries.
2008: After a nearly 2-year absence because of knee injuries, Pinkard returned to the football field as a senior in 2008 and ended up starting USC's last 11 games at cornerback (he was an often-used backup in the first 2 contests, mainly as a nickel back). He also was available to play safety. Overall in 2008 while appearing in all 12 games, he had 39 tackles, including 1 for a 4-yard loss, plus 3 deflections, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles and an interception. He made 2008 All-Pac-10 honorable mention.
He had 2 tackles at Virginia and 1 each against Ohio State (with a deflection) and Oregon State. He then had 5 tackles, a deflection and a forced fumble that he recovered (it led to a USC TD) against Oregon. He added a tackle against Arizona State, then had 4 tackles, plus a fumble recovery and a forced fumble (USC recovered it and turned it into a TD), at Washington State. He had 2 tackles at Arizona, a tackle against Washington and 4 tackles and an interception (in the end zone) versus California. He added 8 tackles (1 for a loss) and a deflection at Stanford, 3 tackles against Notre Dame and 5 tackles at UCLA.
2007: After missing most of the 2006 season with an injury, Pinkard was expected to re-claim his starting free safety job as a junior in 2007, or move to cornerback, where he also has starting experience. But he tore ligaments in his left knee in 2007 fall camp, had surgery and was sidelined all season. He missed most of 2007 spring practice while recuperating from a 2006 knee injury.
2006: Pinkard started the 2006 opener at Arkanas at free safety as a junior, but he tore ligaments in his right knee late in that game, had surgery and was sidelined the rest of the year. He was allowed to redshirt because of the early-season injury. He had 6 tackles at Arkansas. He missed some of 2006 spring practice because of a sports hernia (he had surgery on it in April).
2005: Pinkard began his 2005 sophomore season as an often-used backup safety, available at both the free and strong safety spots. He played often in extra defensive back situations and even started the Arkansas game at strong safety. But he was moved to cornerback by mid-season and started there in USC's last 6 games (Washington State, Stanford, California, Fresno State, UCLA and Texas). Overall in 2005 while appearing in all 13 games, he had 54 tackles (third on team), including 1.5 for losses of 8 yards (with 0.5 sack for minus 4 yards), plus a team-best 7 deflections, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.
He had a team-high 10 tackles (1 for a loss) against Washington State in his first start at cornerback. He had 7 tackles and 4 deflections against Fresno State, another 7 tackles with a deflection against Texas, 6 stops and an interception (to set up a USC TD) versus Arkansas (while starting at safety), 5 tackles at Hawaii (with a forced fumble) and Arizona State, and 4 stops at Notre Dame (with a forced fumble) and Washington (in his first extended action at cornerback). His other interception came at Oregon (to set up a USC touchdown). He returned a fumbled interception 21 yards to set up a USC TD versus Stanford. He recovered a fumble against UCLA (to set up a USC touchdown).
2004: Pinkard was a reserve safety and played on special teams as a first-year freshman in 2004. Overall in 2004 while appearing in all 13 games, he made 9 tackles (including 2 against both Arizona State and Oklahoma), recovered a fumble (against Oklahoma, setting up a USC TD) and fielded a short kickoff (against California, returning it for 0 yards).
HIGH SCHOOL: He was a 2003 Super Prep All-American, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-CIF Division IV and Los Angeles Times All-Ventura/North Coast pick as a senior defensive back and wide receiver at Hueneme High in Oxnard (Calif.). He had 123 tackles, 2 sacks and 4 interceptions on defense and 22 receptions for 200-plus yards with 5 TDs on offense.
As a junior in 2002, he had 90 tackles and 6 interceptions.
He also was on the basketball and track teams at Hueneme.
PERSONAL: He's a political science major at USC.
JOSH PINKARD ON: Playing safety versus cornerback: "It's fun. They are two different positions with two different techniques. I would never say I'm more excited to play safety, but I wasn't mad when I was switched back."
His style: "I have a little speed on me, so I can cover guys. It's not always about the big hit, it's about making the play. You don't always have to go for the big hit, because if you do, that can be the opponent's big play. You just have to come in and make a play and then just keep playing. When a big hit is there, it will come to you."
WHAT OTHERS SAY: USC head coach Pete Carroll: "He's confident, he's real fast and he plays with a lot of range and covers a lot of ground. He's a very good hitter. He has great ability, flexibility and has range."
Former USC All-American safety Darnell Bing: "He makes plays whenever he's in. He makes things happen. He doesn't go out there and freeze. He does more than knock heads. He makes plays, interceptions, the whole nine yards."
GAME-BY-GAME WITH JOSH PINKARD