The worst kept secret regarding USC football recently is that the Trojans have been suffering from a dearth of scholarships since the NCAA laid hammer down on the program, courtesy of the Reggie Bush scandal.
We've been fielding your questions for our Mailbag Monday feature, so let's celebrate the start of the work week by getting right into the burning topics of USC Football, as editor Michael Castillo answers your questions.
Spend a day at USC, and you'll hear the moniker Trojan Family a million times. The saying, which alludes to the tight-knit alumni base of the university, has no better literal meaning at USC than in athletics.
One of the top JUCO Defensive players in the country is 6'5 315-pound defensive tackle Abu Lamin.
Full Name : Joe McKnight Born : April 16, 1988 Birth Place : River Ridge, Louisiana Height : 6 foot 0 Weight : 180 lbs.
College : USC Trojans Highschool : John Curtis Christian Position : Running Back
About Joe McKnight Evaluation: Joe McKnight is a potential difference maker regardless of which position he plays, and he has great football speed despite what his actual 40 time may indicate. He is a jack of all trades and reminds us a lot of a young Eric Metcalf. He possesses all the movement skills you want on defense as a corner or safety prospect, but he is such a playmaker with the ball in his hands that college coaches will be tempted to keep him on offense. Joe McKnight has excellent athletic ability, body control and change of direction. He shows great foot quickness, initial burst and lateral mobility. He has outstanding vision and can see the hole. He has excellent anticipation and judges where blocks are coming from in order to make the right cut. He wastes little time getting to the hole. McKnight is a zone, cut-back runner who has very good balance and does not go down with an arm tackle. Joe McKnight will make you miss and runs a lot bigger than his size. Joe McKnight is a tough runner who will lower his shoulder on contact. Joe McKnight always keeps his feet moving and will pick up the tough yards after contact. As a receiver, he has big-play ability and can take a short gain and turn it into a long one. Joe McKnight has the ability to beat man-to-man coverage with his quickness and explosiveness. Joe McKnight has outstanding hands and focus and will make plays in traffic. Extends and plucks effortlessly. He can change field position in a hurry as a punt and kick returner and is very decisive when he sees the seam. Joe McKnight is all over the place on defense and is a natural playmaker. Knows where the ball is going, keys on quarterbacks and shows great instincts and anticipation in pass coverage. Is a sound, reliable tackler but not a devastating hitter. Joe McKnight is as fast as he needs to be. Joe McKnight can accelerate on both sides of the ball and is a sparkplug at just about any spot he lines up at.
McKnight attended John Curtis Christian High School in River Ridge, Louisiana, located approximately 10 miles south of New Orleans in Jefferson Parish.
For his first years of high school, McKnight played defense as a cornerback; his high school career was complicated by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated his part of Louisiana just before his junior 2005 season. Separated from his mother who had evacuated to Baton Rouge, McKnight temporarily relocated to Shreveport where he eventually enrolled and played two games for Evangel Christian Academy, the same school which previously produced USC quarterback and future teammate John David Booty. His family was able to relocate back to River Ridge, but their home had been destroyed so they moved into a one-bedroom apartment.
For the rest of the shortened 2005 season, McKnight scored 22 touchdowns (nine rushing, five receiving, four punt returns, three interceptions, one kickoff return) and averaged 18 yards a play in leading his team to the state championship. In 2006, McKnight rushed for 719 yards on 45 carries, scoring 14 touchdowns, received 24 catches for 735 yards and 13 touchdowns, and with special teams play scored a total of 30 touchdowns as a senior; he was instrumental in John Curtis Christian's 14-0 season, often used as a decoy player due to his scoring threat.
McKnight is the latest and arguably the most talented of a line of running back prospects out of John Curtis Christian HS – among them Reggie Dupard, Chris Howard and Jonathan Wells. Most recruiting analysts rank him among the top 2 of the 2007 high school class (next to quarterback Jimmy Clausen of Oaks Christian High School). Considered a 5-star recruit, on January 28, 2007, McKnight was named co-Player of the Year by Parade, sharing the honor with Clausen. Rivals.com ranked McKnight the best running back prospect in the U.S., and the 2nd best recruit overall. Analysts notice his elusiveness, impressive speed (4.3 in 40-yard dash) as well as his incomparable instincts and field vision but some say he is somewhat undersized, at 193 pounds, for the college game. McKnight has been called “the most exciting prospect the state of Louisiana has produced since Marshall Faulk” by recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg.
USC assigned linebackers coach and former NFL All-Pro Ken Norton Jr. to handle recruitment of McKnight. LSU coach Les Miles visited McKnight on February 1, 2007, the last possible date before National Signing Day, in order to ensure McKnight's commitment to the LSU. However, on February 7 McKnight committed to the University of Southern California. At USC, McKnight will be joined the second-ranked running back prospect, Marc Tyler. The backlash against McKnight's decision to attend college out of state manifested itself when the Curtis School's marching band was booed performing at a Mardis Gras parade.
McKnight stated that his interest in USC came from its football tradition, notably Heisman trophies and his interest in sports broadcasting, noting the USC Annenberg School for Communication.
Joe McKnight Commits to USC
Because of his talent and versatility, the media and opposing coaches have called McKnight the "next Reggie Bush". McKnight began college at the
University of Southern California in June 2007. He was awarded with the inaugural “Frank Gifford Endowed Football Scholarship”, which is given out annually by the USC athletic department to an incoming freshman running back, quarterback or wide receiver who best emulates Gifford's life, success and spirit.
By the pre-season practice before his freshman season at USC, McKnight had already demonstrated some of the speed and moves that made him an impact player in high school.
After a slow start during his freshman season, he made a pivotal contribution in a victory against against Arizona, where he ran a punt return for 45 yards, and later ran for 59 yards to set USC up for their last 10 points in their game
USC Trojans Stars:
Mark Sanchez was a highly recruited player and arrived at the University of Southern California in 2005. Mark Sanchez did not play during his freshman year and redshirted.
As a Senior, Chauncey Washington was ranked as the #12 running back in the nation by ESPN.com was aggressively recruited by USC and Michigan State, as well as Wisconsin, Oregon, Oregon State, ASU, Arizona, Boston College and Washington State.
John David Booty was born on January 3, 1985, in Shreveport, Louisiana. John David Booty was the starting quarterback of University of Southern California (USC) football team. John David Booty is called "John David" Booty because his father's name is John Booty
Marc Tyler father, Wendell Tyler, was a running back at UCLA (1973-76), who led the Bruins in rushing in 1975, and later became a
Pro Bowl running back for the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers of the NFL.
2002 - Facing off against BCS No. 3 Iowa in the Orange Bowl, USC defeated the Hawkeyes 38-17.
2003 - Highly touted but unproven redshirt sophomore Matt Leinart took over for Palmer at quarterback.USC defeated BCS #4 Michigan 28-14 in the
Rose Bowl. USC finished the season ranked #1 in the AP poll and was awarded the AP National Championship
2004 - USC was picked #1 in the preseason by the Associated Press, thanks to the return of Leinart as well as sophomore running backs LenDale White and Reggie Bush.
Trojans finished the season undefeated and headed for the 2004 BCS Championship at the Orange Bowl.USC matched its speed and defense against the Oklahoma running game and skilled offensive line—but the reality proved to be far different. USC scored 38 points by halftime, and won by the score of 55-19
2005 - The regular season witnessed a resuscitation of the Notre Dame/USC rivalry. USC's hopes for another national championship were dashed by the Texas Longhorns, in a dramatic 41-38 loss at the 2006 Rose Bowl.
2006 - USC was forced to attempt to rebuild following the loss of offensive stalwarts Leinart, Bush, and White.
2007 - Trojans were considered to be a virtual lock for the BCS Championship Game against Ohio State. However, USC was shocked in the final game of the season, losing to crosstown rival UCLA 13-9.
For 2007 recruiting, USC has continued its tradition of recruiting talent, and was able to acquire ranked running back Joe McKnight, who some sports writers believe was the best high school player in the country.
2008 USC beat Illinois 49 - 17 to win the 2008 Rose Bowl.
Freshman tailback Joe McKnight finished with 170 of USC's Rose Bowl-record 633 yards. The 49 points tied a record, too, and the blowout gave the Trojans 11 wins for an unprecedented sixth straight season.
Friends Sites: Andre Woodson
On September 22, 2007, Andre Woodson broke Trent Dilfer's all-time record of 271 consecutive pass attempts without an interception against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The streak ended, however, when Andre Woodson threw his first interception in 325 attempts on September 29, 2007 against Florida Atlantic University .
After scoring his 20th rushing touchdown against Florida Atlantic on November 17 and setting a new conference record for rushing touchdowns,
Tim Tebow also became the only person ever in NCAA history to score 20 touchdowns rushing and 20 touchdowns passing in the same season