A number of expectations
USC announced the numbers to be worn on the jerseys of incoming freshman this fall, along with number changes for current members of the team. Among the new digits issued, there is one that stands out among the rest, surfacing for the first time since 2007, and accompanied by enormous expectations.
Lamar Dawson was one many names inclusive to the celebration of signing day success. The Linebacker chose to leave his Kentucky home and head west, where he will not only be clad in the Trojan cardinal and gold, but also don the famed “55” across his uniform’s front and rear.
At Southern California, the number 55 is a privilege and not a right. You won’t find it draped and displayed in the Coliseum with honor, just as those worn by the program’s Heisman winners. But it does represent a special build of Trojan, specifically a linebacker, who possesses a skill set today that makes superstardom foreseeable in the future.
When Dawson pulls that jersey over his head in September, he instantly obtains membership to a club that includes Keith Rivers, Chris Claiborne, Willie McGinest, and Junior Seau. All wore the 55, excelled at their positions, and were All-Americans. And not only were those members of the club all selected in the first-round of the NFL draft, each was also chosen among the top-10 picks.
Draft: 1990 Rd: 1 Pick: 5 (San Diego)
Draft: 1994 Rd. 1 Pick: 4 (New England)
Draft: 1999 Rd: 1 Pick: 9 (Detroit)
Draft: 2008 Rd:1 Pick: 9 (Cincinnati)
While the majority of Claiborne’s magic was displayed in college, Seau is a 12-time Pro Bowl selection, now awaiting enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. McGinest is the only 55 to win a Super Bowl, accomplishing the feat three times as a starting member of the Patriots dynasty. Rivers, only four years removed from college, is still in the process of scripting his professional legacy, representing one of the key components to the Bengals defense.
Dawson was listed as a 4-star prospect by rivals.com, and rated the top player in his state. Like Rivers, The Trojans managed to free him from the local SEC grip and steer him towards the Pacific. And also like Rivers, what he will find is more pressure to perform than anyone else on the roster, based on a number requested and granted.
USC 2011 Freshmen by the numbers
13 Tre Madden (Robert Woods now wearing #2)
14 Isiah Wiley
15 Ryan Henderson
17 Marqise Lee
35 Kris Albarado
37 Javorious “Buck” Allen
39 Charles Burks
41 Amir Carlisle
45 Anthony Sarao
55 Lamar Dawson
58 J.R. Tavai
64 Cody Temple
66 Marcus Martin
69 Cyrus Hobbi
70 Andrey Walker
85 Victor Blackwell
87 Junior Pomee
88 George Farmer
91 Steve Dillon
93 Greg Townsend
95 Devante Wilson
97 Christian Heyward
99 Antwaun Woods