The unveiling of Associated Press’ All-American team has become a staple of USC’s offseason with a consistent flow of blue-chip recruits and productive NFL prospects—you’re always bound to find Trojans on that list.
This year was no exception as redshirt sophomore quarterback and Heisman favorite Sam Darnold was unsurprisingly selected to the first-team All-American squad with teammates cornerback Iman Marshall and linebacker Cameron Smith both selected to the second team.
If you’ve made it this far into the Trojan offseason without knowing Sam Darnold is, we’re gonna have to politely ask you to climb off the USC bandwagon. Seriously, Darnold’s selection comes as no surprise.
Taking over for ineffective starter Max Browne in Week 4 of last season— Darnold “LITERALLY” tore a hole in the space-time continuum as he went 9-1 for the rest of the year and racked up the following:
28 touchdowns vs 8 interceptions
2950 passing yards
2016 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year
2016 Archie Griffin Award Winner
2017 Rose Bowl Champion (Where he set Rose Bowl Game records for passing touchdowns with five and total yards with 473 total yards.)
Iman Marshall’s second-team AP All-American selection—coincidentally, comes a few days following our piece on Biggie potentially becoming NCAA’s best defensive player in 2017.
Now, no one on staff has a vote and to my knowledge, no one here knows anyone who does—but we did make quite a compelling argument:
Marshall has shown excellent progression throughout his career in both coverage and run support, as well as the athletic profile to succeed in his defensive scheme. More importantly, he will have the opportunity to display his talents.
The Trojans will be one of the most watched teams this season and paired along with legitimate matchups, Marshall will be given every chance to show that he indeed is the best defensive player in the country.
With Cam Smith, you have a legitimate Butkus Award candidate who’s produced as a Trojan since Day 1. Racking up 124 total tackles in his first two seasons at USC, Smith has been reliable as it gets at the position.
Although not the flashiest player, he knows where to be to make plays as evident by his awesome three-interception against Utah last season.
The Trojans may only have three preseason All-Americans, but come the season’s end, these three will be back on the list alongside a few more Trojans…