Trojans play Georgia Tech on Dec. 31 in El Paso.
T.J. McDonald is Most Inspirational.
Game is Dec. 31 on CBS-TV.
It's the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football.
Winner will represent Pac-12 South in league championship game.
USC vs. Georgia Tech, 2012 Sun Bowl - AP Photo Gallery
No. 10 USC vs. Arizona - AP Photos
Matt Barkley threw for 298 yards and six touchdowns.
AP Photos: Football vs. Utah
Matt Barkley threw a career-best six touchdown passes.
CAREER: He has 163 tackles, including 5.5 for losses, and 6 interceptions in his career. He has 23 career starts.
2012: The hard-hitting McDonald, a Thorpe Award and Lott Trophy candidate who like his father has earned All-American honors at USC, returns for his third season as the starting free safety as a senior in 2012.
2011: McDonald started for his second season at free safety as a junior in 2011 and had an outstanding season. Overall in 2011 while appearing in all 12 (he started all but the Colorado game), he had 67 tackles (third on USC), including 2.5 for losses, a team-high 3 interceptions, 2 deflections, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt. He was one of 15 semifinalists for the 2011 Thorpe Award and one of 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy. He made the 2011 Sporting News and Pro Football Weekly All-American first team (joining his father, Tim, as the first father-son All-American first teamers in USC history), the SI.com All-American second team and the Phil Steele All-American third team.He made the 2011 All-Pac-12 first team. He made the 2011 ESPN.com, CBSSports.com, CollegeFootballNews.com and Phil Steele All-Pac-12 first team. He won USC's 2011 Defensive Perimeter Player of the Year Award. He was a USC captain (joining his father, Tim, as the first father-son captains in Trojan history).
He had a team-best 8 tackles against Minnesota, then had 2 stops and a fumble recovery (to set up a USC TD) against Utah and 5 tackles against Syracuse. He had 6 tackles at Arizona State and then he had a pair of first quarter interceptions against Arizona (the first ended Nick Foles' streak of 210 passes without a pick dating to 2010) and he also had 6 tackles and a deflection to earn Lott IMPACT Trophy National Player of the Week and Thorpe Award National Defensive Back of the Week. He made 2 tackles (0.5 for a loss) at California, 5 tackles at Notre Dame and 5 tackles against Stanford (1 for a loss). He had 4 tackles while playing only the second half at Colorado (he was suspended for the first half by the Pac-12 for a hit in the Stanford game). He had 6 tackles against Washington and 8 tackles and blocked a punt at Oregon. Against UCLA, he had a game-best 10 tackles and had an interception (in the end zone with the Bruins threatening in the red zone) that he returned 25 yards and a deflection.
2010: McDonald was USC's starting free safety as a sophomore in 2010 and had an outstanding showing. Overall in 2010 while starting 12 games (he missed the UCLA game with a shoulder injury), he had a team-high 89 tackles, including 3 for losses (with a sack), plus 4 deflections, 3 interceptions and a blocked punt. He made the 2010 All-Pac-10 second team, Scout.com All-Pac-10 first team and Phil Steele All-Pac-10 first team. He had surgery on his ankle prior to 2010 spring practice.
He had 4 stops with a deflection at Hawaii, then a game-best 14 tackles with an interception (in the end zone) and a deflection against Virginia, 7 tackles (with a sack) at Minnesota, 6 tackles (1 for a loss) and an interception that he ran back 20 yards at Washington State and a game-best 11 tackles against Washington. He added 4 tackles at Stanford, 3 tackles and an interception (to set up a USC TD) against California and 6 tackles (1 for a loss) and a deflection against Oregon. He had a game-high 13 tackles and blocked a punt (he also partially blocked another punt and downed a punt at the ASU 4-yard line) against Arizona State to earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors, a game-high 10 tackles against Arizona and a team-best 10 tackles with a deflection at Oregon State. He had a tackle against Notre Dame before spraining his shoulder early in the game (and sidelining him for the season finale at UCLA).
2009: McDonald saw limited action as a backup strong safety and played on special teams as a first-year freshman in 2009. Overall in 2009 while appearing in all 13 games, he had 7 tackles. He had 3 tackles against San Jose State and then 1 tackle each against Washington State, California, Notre Dame and Arizona State.
HIGH SCHOOL: His 2008 honors included Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Scout.com All-American first team, ESPN 150, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Dream Team, Sporting News Top 100, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Orange County Register Fab 15 first team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, Golden State Preps All-Southern California first team, All-CIF Central Section, Fresno Bee All-Star and All-County/Metro Athletic Conference Defensive MVP as a senior who played safety, linebacker, defensive end, fullback, tight end and wide receiver at Edison High in Fresno (Calif.). He had 87 tackles and 3 interceptions in 2008.
As a junior in 2007, he made Rivals.com Junior All-American second team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass first team, All-CIF Central Section and Fresno Bee All-Star. His father, Tim, was the head coach at Edison.
PERSONAL: He's a communication major at USC. His father, Tim, was a 2-time (1985-86) All-American and 4-year (1983-86) letterman safety at USC, where he was named the team MVP his final 2 seasons, was Troy's 1986 captain and helped the Trojans to a victory in the 1985 Rose Bowl, and then played 13 years in the NFL as an All-Pro/Pro Bowler with the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals (1987-92) and San Francisco 49ers (1993-99), including on the 49ers' 1994 team that won the Super Bowl. His brother, Tevin, is a sophomore cornerback at UCLA. His initials stand for Tim Jr. He and 15 of his USC teammates spent 5 days in Haiti in the spring of 2012 building homes and assisting those in need.
##Includes 2 blocked punts
#Includes 1 blocked punt
#Includes 1 blocked punt
Tony Pauline, SI.com: "The Trojans have a storied history of sending talented defensive backs into the NFL, and McDonald is next in line. His cover skills are good enough that he can be relied upon to play over the slot receiver, and he displays a large degree of toughness against the run. McDonald is easily the most complete next-level secondary prospect from USC since Troy Polamalu."
Former NFL scout Dave Razzano: "One of the more talented safeties to come out of USC in the last decade, McDonald combines size, speed and aggressiveness to make his presence felt in every game he plays. He is a big time hitter who can create turnovers on his own with his aggressive style of play. He also displays the necessary speed/burst to come off the hash and break up plays downfield with very good timing and anticipation. He can go up and get the ball in compete situations due to his leaping ability. He shows up most in the run game as he is quick to react up field and stuff running lanes as he appears to relish the physical part of the game. The leader of the USC secondary comes to play each and every Saturday and will undoubtedly take his game to the next level in the future."
Sporting News: "McDonald is a tall and linear player with the foot quickness to have sideline range in deep coverage. He has good ball skills and consistently shows the timing to break up passes and even block punts. He is willing to come up in run support and tackle well."