When it comes to non-retired jersey numbers at USC, there's none that has more history behind it than No. 55. Through the years No. 55 has been worn by All-American linebackers like Junior Seau, Chris Claiborne, Willie McGinest, and Keith Rivers to name the few. The number is one of the most iconic in program history and should be treated as such. Recently no linebacker has donned No. 55 since Lamar Dawson wore it in 2014. Cam Smith was reported to be switching to 55 before last season, however he opted to stick with 35.
Recently a debate has sparked on social media in regards to No. 55 at USC. Should Clay Helton give it to a promising freshman linebacker? Should he award it to an upper classman? Should the Trojans football program just retire the number all together? There has been different answers by many people and good points made as well. What should USC do with No. 55?
Junior Seau has worn the number through his career at USC (1988-90). After Seau, the Trojans have given to number to promising freshman linebackers. Some like Willie McGinest, Chris Claiborne, and Keith Rivers has lived up to expectations and carried the number to new heights with their career. There has also been some that didn’t give up to the standard of wearing No. 55, however they all had a common thing and that was having the number given as a freshman.
Traditions is a thing across college football, especially at USC and this is a tradition that should continue regardless. Nothing wrong with making players to earn a legendary number like 55 because of the legacy behind it, however it becomes a point where coaches protecting a number instead of letting a player try to add on to it’s legacy. Retiring the number all together wouldn’t do its justice because you can’t honor a single player and USC only retires numbers of Heisman trophy winners. Not to mention there won’t be a linebacker that will win the Heisman in the foreseeable future.
Incoming freshman Palaie Gaoteote IV was rumored to get No. 55, however when jersey numbers were officially released for the incoming freshman he was seen wearing No. 1 which is a rare number worn by linebackers. Especially those at USC. If any freshman should wear 55 then Gaoteote or Solomon Tuliaupupu, who has No. 58, would be the prime candidates to donne the legendary number and be able to attempt to add to the legacy.
What should USC do with No. 55?
This poll is closed
Give it to a promising Freshman linebacker
Give it to a linebacker that earns it