RB/PR/KR Reggie Bush

2004 Statistics

Coach: Pete Carroll
42-9, 4 years
2004 Record: 13-0
vs. Virginia Tech WON 24-13
at Brigham Young WON 42-10
at Stanford WON 31-28
at Washington State WON 42-12
at Oregon State WON 28-20
at UCLA WON 29-24
vs. Oklahoma WON 55-19

2004 Final Rankings
AP-1, Coaches-1, BCS-1

2005 Outlook

Not awarding USC a preseason #1 ranking warrants an immediate trip to the asylum. Yes, check in if you feel a lack of confidence in Southern Cal, immediately. Even without Leinart, they would still be the most loaded program top to bottom, boasting third-stringers good enough be the backbones of many opposing teams. The Pac-10 has improved little, USC's super sophs Bush and White have another year experience, and the Trojans blew-out their so-called challengers 55-19 in the Orange Bowl.

And yet, a three-peat may not be the cakewalk it appears to be. Pundits agree that the Trojans failed to annihilate all opposition in that memorable Orange Bowl-fashion, that they were dangerously close to losing six games. In comparison, undefeated Auburn coasted to many more lopsided victories, and that was in arguably the nation's toughest conference - the SEC. As the bowl season proved, the Pac-10 was weaker than most imagined (excepting USC). And, with the hit they take losing Chow, it should not shock anyone if the Trojans suffer a defeat as they revamp under whomever is hired (at this time, there is no offensive coordinator).

Southern Cal could easily be lulled into believing its own hype, and over confidence isn't far away since no game seemingly jumps off the schedule as particularly challenging. Trap games against Fresno State, Arkansas and Arizona State are all in the Coliseum where USC has been unbeatable, so likely the Men of Troy will be staying in Los Angeles for the New Year. But these non-cons are no cakewalk, either, and any is good enough to beat Southern Cal if they don't respect and prepare enough for this competition.

Winning the annual recruiting war again and again has ensured that Pete Carroll can recover from any loss. NFL departures, assistant coaching defections, suspensions, etc… Carroll has faced them all with his usual happy-go-lucky attitude, seeing each as an opportunity for someone new to step up. After starting 2-5, he has gone 40-4, losing only one game by more than a TD (27-16 @ Notre Dame, 10/20/01). And, Carroll is their defensive coordinator, so expect much there regardless of turnover. His developments have worked so far, and with the best offense in the country to go along with his athletic and intimidating defense, it's not wise to pick against them.

Expect eye-popping stats from Leinart and Bush who'll again duel for the Heisman as countless other as-of-yet unknown Trojans cement all-America status. Still, when it's all over, it would be one of the most phenomenal accomplishments in college football history for everything to fall into place so that USC would win three straight titles. In this age of scholarship-reduction parity, that will be one for the ages.

Projected 2005 record: 12-0
QB - 5 DL - 4
RB - 5 LB - 4
WR - 4 DB - 4
OL - 4.5 ..

Passing: Matt Leinart, 412-269-6, 3322 yds., 33 TD

Rushing: LenDale White, 203 att., 1103 yds., 15 TD

Receiving: Dwayne Jarrett, 55 rec., 849 yds., 13 TD

Scoring: LenDale White, 17 TD, 102 pts..

Punting: Tom Malone, 49 punts, 43.8 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: Darnell Bing, 63 tot., 43 solo

Sacks: Lawrence Jackson, 6 sacks

Interceptions: Darnell Bing, 2 for 8 yds.; Eric Wright, 2 for 22 yds.; Terrell Thomas, 2 for 29 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Reggie Bush, 21 ret., 25.6 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Reggie Bush, 24 ret., 15.7 avg., 2 TD


DT Manuel Wright
OFFENSE: Lee Webb-FB, Alex Holmes-TE, John Drake-OG, Ryan Killeen-K
DEFENSE: Mike Patterson-NT, Shaun Cody-DT/DE, Matt Grootegoed-WLB, Kevin Arbet-CB, Ronald Nunn-CB, Jason Leach-FS, Lofa Tatupu-MLB (NFL), Manuel Wright-DT (NFL), Eric Wright-CB (transferring)

USC will have the most valuable QB in the country, thanks in part to the $1 million insurance policy Bob Leinart took out on son Matt, a first-team NC.net all-American. Finances aside, there's a reason Heritage Hall heard its loudest cheers when the Heisman Trophy winner and sure-fire number one pick announced his return to LA. Leinart has Tom Brady-like cool in the pocket; just ask the Sooners who boasted words like "overrated" before the senior shredded them. The amazing thing about Leinart's near-flawless Heisman campaign was how decimated his receiving core was to start 2004 (what if Mike Williams had still been there, huh?). Given healthy playmakers, Leinart will be even scarier down the stretch and is odds-on favorite to do something no QB has ever done: win three national titles. Don't forget a possible second Heisman trophy as Leinart, who throws the deep ball as well as anyone, will get plenty of publicity for his highlight-reel tosses. Oh, but he doesn't run well - maybe his only knock besides losing Norm Chow - though he scored three ground TDs. With an outstanding line, he will stay well protected after off-season surgery; but, even an injury wouldn't decimate USC at QB as RS sophomore phenom John David Booty has been well-groomed. Remember, no one thought Leinart could replace Carson Palmer, but now here we are…

Running Back
Nicknamed "The President," 2004 was a vote-of-confidence for (NC.net second-team all-American) junior Reggie Bush, the incumbent 2005 "most exciting player" in the nation. The extra-terrestrial Bush changes games in a way numbers can't quantify - via mismatches and open-field instincts. The team's second leading rusher and receiver makes the most of any touch he gets (6.3yds-per-carry) and will lead the country in "how did he do that?" big gainers (he had 33 20+yd plays). If teams don't double Bush, just strike up the USC fight song now (13 TDs). Forming the other half of the nation's best one-two punch is the bruising LenDale White. The fellow junior is the workhorse, but opponents ostensibly cannot key on just him. While the 235lb White gains over 70% of his yards after contact, he still possesses 4.4 speed that makes him impossible to fully contain for a all 60 minutes. Injured Hershel Dennis will redshirt, but USC can still run on anyone, especially in the Pac-10. Brandon Hancock, fully recovered from his own season-ending knee injury, regains his starting FB spot with tough blocking and surprising receiving skills.

Without Mike Williams and Steve Smith, who did Leinart throw to? Enter sophomore Dwayne Jarrett who has the body of Williams (6'5", 195) and his knack for scoring lead the '04 corps. After overcoming homesickness and a case of the drops, Jarrett emerged as the country's most productive freshman wideout and the deadliest on jump-balls. "High and deep to number eight," has become Leinart's rallying cry. And with Steve Smith returning from injury to eventually cram a season's worth of highlights into the Orange Bowl, that now means the corps is complete (his one-hand TD grab with his other arm being dragged down is the stuff of legend). The junior's deceptive speed and improved route-running could make him an all-America favorite, if not for splitting catches with Jarrett and the other Trojan horses. Junior Chris McFoy is healthy and runs well after the catch but will lose his job mid-season to one of two playmaking blue-chippers: sophomore Fred Davis has Jarrett's height and a stronger frame (but moonlights at TE) while recruit Patrick Turner can run by anyone. The young corps has the talent and depth to become the nation's best.

Offensive Line and Tight End
If you're searching for even one weakness on the Trojans' offense, avert your eyes. The line is still downright dominant. Counting pseudo-starter, go-to TE Dominique Byrd (known now for the other stunning one-hand Orange Bowl TD grab), five of six return up front. Jeff Byers, the lone "new face," started at LG in four key late games - he was Gatorade's high-school Player of the Year in '03. He's an extremely agile pass-blocker (zero sacks allowed in prep career) and with a bit more bulk, will help the Trojans continue to open gaping holes. Top three in Pac-10 pass and rush offense, there's not much this line of supposed question marks won't continue to do well. Aggressiveness has led to improvement every year under Pete Carroll (a high of 4.7ypc in '04) and with the experience on Leinart's blindside, expect this crew to allow even fewer than 2004's 25 sacks. As strong as senior RT Taitusi Latui is, he must still beat out former preseason all-American Winston Justice, who had been suspended all of last season. Freshman Thomas Herring, a former No.1-rated OT (Rivals.com), is expected to add to this unit's superiority. Added experience and chemistry, plus a 260lb. stud TE like Byrd (37 catches) makes this big unit impossible to dominate.

Personnel-wise, across the board, no one's in the same league as the Trojans offense. It's reasonable to think Leinart, Bush and White will all go early in the NFL draft. The questions surround the coaches. Replacing coaches on the line, at QB, and most notably their offensive coordinator genius Norm Chow is Carroll's challenge for continuity. Expect some drop off at first - without the "oil" of Chow's insights greasing this yard-eating machine, it will struggle to find identity, thought this struggle shouldn't result in any losses. Really, Leinart & Co. could draw up plays in the dirt and still continue USC's streak of 39 straight games of 20+ points. Depth at WR gives the Men of Troy one more way to beat teams. USC won't truly feel the loss of Chow's wizardry for a year or two; for now, talent alone makes this still the best offense as we look to September.


QB Matt Leinart


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Matt Leinart-Sr (6-5, 225) John David Booty-So (6-3, 195)
Rocky Hinds-Fr (6-4, 225)
FB David Kirtman-Sr (6-0, 225) Brandon Hancock-Jr (6-1, 230)
TB Reggie Bush-Jr (6-0, 200)
LenDale White-Jr (6-2, 235)
Desmond Reed-So (5-9, 180)
WR Dwayne Jarret-So (6-5, 195) William Buchanon-Sr (6-3, 190)
WR Steve Smith-Jr (6-1, 195) Chris McFoy-Jr (6-1, 195)
Whitney Lewis-So (6-1, 225)
TE Dominique Byrd-Sr (6-3, 260) Fred Davis-So (6-4, 215)
Dale Thompson-Fr (6-4, 255)
OT Sam Baker-So (6-5, 290) Kyle Williams-Jr (6-6, 290)
OG Jeff Byers-So (6-3, 275) Drew Radovich-So (6-5, 290)
C Ryan Kalil-Jr (6-4, 275) Matt Spanos-So (6-5, 285)
OG Fred Matua-Jr (6-2, 305) Chilo Rachal-Fr (6-6, 310)
OT Winston Justice-Jr (6-6, 300) Taitusi Lutui-Sr (6-6, 370)
K Mario Danelo-Fr (5-10, 210) Phil Mellinger-Fr (6-0, 170)



Defensive Line
DE Lawrence Jackson's rapid emergence showed the world how the RS sophomore's a step quicker than most blockers (11 TFLs out of his 32 takedowns). He'll improve on his six sacks and be a/the Pac-10 leader. Senior Frostee Rucker is the leader and a smart "contain" end on the opposite side. Jeff Schweiger, a top DE recruit in '03, will be a star with his powerful tackling. Inside, junior DT Manuel Wright is a force and would have started anywhere else after sitting behind Cody and Mike Patterson. Forget holes -teams must open canyons to run by this 6'7" monster who is, too, quick enough to lead the team in TFLs. While interior depth is an obvious concern after such key losses, USC's scheme is so successful because it assigns holes and requires only that the lineman plug them. This allows young guys like speedy DT Sedrick Ellis to achieve via superior athleticism. Ellis will be another guy worthy of two hats, but who will have a huge campaign due to too many guys like him playing together. Expect only a few growing pains, and then look out for a juggernaut.

The unexpected departure of Lofa Tatupu forces Oscar Lua to step in at MLB. The RS junior saw limited action, but played in every game and brings more size than Tatupu. But he has yet to prove he can achieve at Tatupu's omniscient levels, and his security as the starter could change with so many eager blue-chippers (Powdrell, Cushing, and Maualuga). He'll be helped by the striking physique of WLB Keith Rivers, the all-everything prep player with many kudos in his limited experience. Rivers can cover too, making him (at this point) the breakout LB to watch. Senior stalwart Dallas Sartz, a strong-side (part-time) starter from both championship seasons, will be in on almost every tackle (expect 80+) and is also excellent in coverage. It's an attacking, speedy unit that only lacks proven depth. USC will play its elite freshmen but must realize it won't quite be the nation's best run stuffers again, and they may not match 2004's 10 LB INTs either. But this is a strong group that will be amongst the top five crews all-around.

Defensive Back
NC.net third-team all-American Darnell Bing leads a superlative secondary that allowed the fewest TDs in the conference. Bing's only a junior, but has played like a senior since he arrived. The strong safety combines unlimited cover range, great lateral movement and linebacker-style hitting. He'll not only lead the Trojans in tackles, he is a Thorpe-award frontrunner already. The fact that senior FS Scott Ware made 12 tackles v. Cal when he should have been on crutches is only further evidence that there's no tougher safety tandem in the country. The Trojan corners are often overlooked, but have the speed to match up with any Pac-10 receiver. Their three combined INTs will improve. Senior Justin Wyatt led the Trojans with seven pass break-ups and oft-injured Eric Moore, when healthy, adds a stable, physical presence. The corners won't get beat deep, allowing the ball-hawking Bing to grab even more TOs in '05. Another deep DB recruiting class means the only weakness could be matching up with 6'5" receivers.

Unlike on offense, the Trojans do take a number of hits to graduation and the NFL, meaning the defense will be as good as its young stars make it. Plenty of freshmen will see action from this year's class, meaning the two-deep will be inexperienced but freakishly athletic. The line has been hit hardest, but USC has the wares to still be amongst the best defenses in I-A. More coordinator losses, namely d-line coach Ed Oregon, suggest a drop-off may occur from allowing league-lows in points (13) and yards (279) per game. Expect a few more lapses and not quite 2004's stellar 50 sacks. But this is still the conference's scariest defense, and it is worth watching this phenomenal talent provide yet another seamless turnover during one of college football's great dynasties.


DB Darnell Bing


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Lawrence Jackson-So (6-5, 270) Alex Morrow-So (6-5, 270)
NT Sedrick Ellis-So (6-2, 275) Travis Draper-Fr (6-4, 275)
DT LaJuan Ramsey-Sr (6-3, 285) Fili Moala-Fr (6-5, 300)
Travis Tofi-Jr (6-4, 255)
DE Frostee Rucker-Sr (6-4, 255) Jeff Schweiger-Fr (6-4, 250)
SLB Dallas Sartz-Sr (6-5, 220) Thomas Williams-So (6-3, 225)
MLB Oscar Lua-Jr (6-2, 240) Ryan Powdrell-Sr (6-1, 250)
WLB Keith Rivers-So (6-3, 220) Collin Ashton-Sr (6-1, 215)
CB Justin Wyatt-Sr (5-10, 180) John Walker-Sr (6-2, 200)
CB Terrell Thomas-So (6-2, 195) ..
SS Darnell Bing-Jr (6-2, 220) Josh Pinkard-Fr (6-1, 200)
FS Scott Ware-Sr (6-3, 220) Ryan Ting-Jr (5-10, 180)
P Tom Malone-Sr (6-0, 190) Taylor Odegard-Fr (5-10, 160)




Unproven Mario Danelo, son of NFL New York Giants kicker Joe, has a booming leg on kickoffs. He pushed outgoing PK Ryan Killeen all throughout spring last year, and was even groomed to start after Killeen sustained a groin injury early on. Still, he has no FGAs yet in his college career. But this area looks solid, especially seeing how Killeen's marginal 64% rate will likely go up with Danelo.

No question marks here. With 20 punts inside the 20, a booming 43.8yd average and a long of 62yds, the only spot senior P Tom Malone is fighting for is the one on the all-America team (NC.net third-teamer). And after finishing 15th in the country in net average (with so many hungry recruits looking for playing time, guys who could start right now at half the schools in I-A), there isn't even an opening here to catch up to the champs.

Return Game
Reggie Bush - the first person ever to be a NationalChamps.net all-American at two positions in one year; he is also a third-team PR - alone makes the Trojans' return game just about the most explosive in America. The Pac-10's leader in all-purpose yards with 2,330 also boasted a 25.6yd-per-return avg. on kickoffs, including an 84yd highlight clip TD jaunt. Less consistent on punts, the junior still took back two for scores. Oft-used Desmond Reed offers opponents little drop off from Bush's levels of elusiveness when inserted.


This spring was simply a battle for the back up spot as Matt Leinart sat out while having minor surgery on his left elbow to clear up some tendonitis. The surgery was successful and he is expected to be ready for the fall. The back up battle was between John David Booty and Rocky Hinds. Booty faired the best and new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin (yes, Monty's son, see below) tabbed his effort as fantastic. Without a doubt, Booty could come in and the offense would just keep rolling. Hinds led the team in the spring game with three TD passes while Booty, going against the first team defense, was just 6-of-20 for 63 yards.

LenDale White has been forced by the school to sit out the spring with academic issues. A new point system devised by the athletic department last semester assesses players with negative points for missing classes, tutorials or study sessions. White also underwent ankle surgery in January but is ready to go if called back. Chauncy Washington returned to the team after a year away. With Reggie Bush limited after surgery, Washington was by far the top TB. Now Chauncey Washington is academically ineligible for 2005. He is likely to transfer, possibly to a Junior College.

William Buchanon made a name for himself this spring, making huge receptions and touchdown grabs. Look for the senior to enter the rotation. 2003 star recruit Whitney Lewis is now academically eligible and was making plays all over the field. The hobbled Bush continued to take reps with the receivers in position drills.

Winston Justice is back after being suspended last fall. He didn't waste time and earned starting duties at his old right tackle spot in all-American fashion. This allowed guys like Taitusi Lutui to move around and offer more depth to the lineup. The surprise has been LG Drew Radovich. With Jeff Byers out with a hip injury, Radovich has made the most of it and may have earned a starting spot.

Frostee Rucker did not participate this spring but is cleared to play in the fall. In his absence, Jeff Schweiger found himself at the top of the depth chart with steady play. Chris Barrett has switched back to defense and is one of the most physically gifted players on the team. He was making great strides before getting injured.

Manuel Wright has entered the NFL supplemental draft, which likely had to do with academic problems. With his departure, it becomes a three-man rotation to fill his shoes between LaJuan Ramsey, Fili Moala and Travis Tofi. NT Sedrick Ellis stood out this spring, easing the loss of Cody and Patterson to some degree.

The spring MVP belongs to Keith Rivers by many accounts. In his first opportunity to work with the first-team, he shone and is set to have a breakout season. At MLB, three players are all listed as starters (Lua, Powdrell and Williams). A true starter will likely not emerge until late August - it just gets better and better for the defending champs, huh.

Terrell Thomas was the only scholarship corner on the field and was easily the MVP at the position. Depth is a huge concern, as incoming freshman are being counted on to fill the void(s). Last season's four-game starter Eric Wright was held out of practice following his arrest (and subsequent investigation) for sexual assault and now will be leaving USC to transfer to another Division I-A school or possibly go the JUCO route. If USC has a kryptonite, CB may be the it as coaches attempt to fill in the depth chart with incoming freshman and walk-ons.

All-American Darnell Bing sat out, still recovering from shoulder surgery. In his place, Scott Ware made the most of his time defending a reputation for being a big time hitter. The youngest guy on the field was Kevin Ellison, who graduated high school early to enroll at USC.

Punter Tom Malone will try kickoffs during fall practice as the Trojans fell way short in this department. Malone has not kicked off since high school. Coaches are hoping Troy Van Blarcom will come in this fall and handle those duties. Van Blarcom was unable to sign a letter-of-intent in February because he had not been admitted to the school.

Pete Carroll has named two assistants to take over for the Norm Chow, who left to coach the NFL Titans. The job has been split between assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian and new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Sarkisian will be in charge of the offense, while Kiffin will handle most of the play calling from the booth.

Sarkisian, 30, was USC's quarterbacks coach during Carroll's first three years at the Trojans' helm, from 2001-2003. Sarkisian spent last season on the Oakland Raiders staff. He formerly was a quarterback at BYU when Chow was an assistant on the Cougars' staff.

Kiffin, 29, son of longtime pro and college coach Monte Kiffin, also was a member of Carroll's first USC staff. He will continue to work with the wide receivers and serve as recruiting coordinator. Sarkisian's and Kiffin's combined ages are just one year more than Chow's.