Tailback Justin Fargas Transfers To USC
Jan. 11, 2001
LOS ANGELES - Tailback Justin Fargas, a highly-acclaimed prep All-American in 1997 who spent the past 3 years at Michigan, has transferred to USC and has enrolled for the spring semester, new head coach Pete Carroll announced.
The 6-1, 195-pound Fargas will have to sit out the 2001 season because of transfer rules and will be a senior with the 2002 Trojans.
"Justin always had a dream of playing at USC, but it didn't happen the first time around," said Carroll. "I'm glad we were able to help him realize his dream. He is an exceptional tailback with the speed, instincts and toughness needed to succeed. His coming to USC sends a strong message to those players who have had similar dreams of becoming Trojans. We'll work hard to make that happen for them, too."
Fargas spent the last 3 seasons (1998-2000) at Michigan, first as a running back before switching to safety in the middle of the 2000 season.
As a 1998 freshman, he ran for 277 yards with 1 TD on 77 carries (3.6 avg.) while appearing in Michigan's first 10 games before suffering a season-ending broken leg in the fourth quarter versus Wisconsin. He led Michigan in kickoff returns in 1998 with 16 for 311 yards (19.4 avg.), and he also caught 1 pass for 5 yards and made 1 tackle that season. He had a team season-best 120 rushing yards on 31 carries at Northwestern. He started once (against Indiana). He was named one of the Top 10 Freshmen in the country by Sports Illustrated.
He redshirted the 1999 season while rehabilitating from 3 surgeries to repair his broken leg. As a sophomore in 2000, he began the year as a backup running back and gained 85 yards on 18 carries (4.7 avg.), then asked to move to safety after 4 games (making 10 tackles and forcing a fumble). He also returned 7 kickoffs for 124 yards (17.7 avg.) in 2000.
He ran for 6,357 yards and 82 TDs on 668 carries (9.5 avg.), all school records, in his 3-year (1995-97) career at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks (Calif.). As a senior, he was regarded as the nation's top prep running back. He was named a 1997 Parade All-American, USA Today All-USA first team, Super Prep National 50, The Sporting News Top 100, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star Dream Team, Prep Star All-American, ESPN/National Recruiting Advisor All-American second team, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star Western Region Offensive MVP, Prep Star All-Western Region Super 30, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team (unanimous), Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-CIF Division III Offensive MVP, Los Angeles Times All-Valley MVP, Los Angeles Daily News All-Valley MVP and All-Mission League MVP. In 1997, he rushed for 2,818 yards and 35 TDs on a school-record 313 carries (9.0 avg.). In one game, he ran for 404 yards with 6 TDs. For the second consecutive year, Notre Dame was the CIF Division III runnerup in 1997.
As a junior in 1996, he gained 2,970 yards (then the third most in California history) with 38 TDs on 281 carries (10.6 avg.) while earning USA Today All-USA honorable mention, Student Sports Junior All-American, Cal-Hi Sports All-State second team, Cal-Hi Sports Junior All-State first team, All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-CIF Division III Offensive Co-MVP, Los Angeles Times All-Valley MVP, Los Angeles Daily News All-Valley MVP and All-Mission League MVP honors. He also caught 22 passes for 284 yards (12.9 avg.) with 4 scores in 1996. On one touchdown run, he somersaulted over a pile, landed on his feet and ran 40 yards to the end zone. Notre Dame was the CIF Division III runnerup in 1996.
As a 1995 sophomore fullback, he rushed for 569 yards and 9 TDs on 74 carries (7.7 avg.). He also played defensive back all 3 years at Notre Dame.
He also ran track at Notre Dame, winning the state 100 meters crown in 1997 (his best in the 100 was 10.47).
Fargas' father, Antonio Fargas, is an actor who has appeared in television (including as Huggy Bear on "Starsky and Hutch") and film ("Shaft," "Pretty Baby," "The Gambler" and "Car Wash," among others).