For USC, they’re hoping to put together four full quarters of action against an Arizona team that lost three of their best players overall from a season ago on defense, and has to replace the dynamic Khalil Tate at quarterback.
While much is unknown about the Wildcats this season, there is one underlying sign of familiarity with these two teams, and it’s their shared locations of Arizona and California.
There are a ton of connections between Arizona and USC this season — and we count them down here.
The Trojans have seven overall players hailing from the state of Arizona, and they are:
S Isaiah Pola-Mao of Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix
QB Kedon Slovis from Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale
D Connor Murphy & OL Andrew Milek are from Brophy Prep in Phoenix
OL AJ Mageo is from Red Mountain High School in Mesa
WR Zach Wilson and PK Parker Lewis are from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale
While seven players from Arizona seems like a lot — that number is crushed by the fact that Arizona has 33 different players hailing from California. Specifically from the LA area and surrounding areas:
CB Lorenzo Burns from Linfield Christian in Murrieta
WR Jalen Johnson from Roosevelt High School in Corona
CB Christian Roland-Wallace from William J Knight High School in Palmdale
WR Brian Casteel from Charter Oak High School in Pasadena
LB Anthony Pandy from Narbonne High School in Carson
DE JB Brown from Long Beach Poly in Long Beach
DB Khary Crump from Culver City High School in Culver City
DB Jaxen Turner from Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley
DB Rhedi Short from Cathedral High School in Los Angeles
RB Nazar Bombata from Bishop Alemany in Los Angeles
DB Donte Bowers Jr. originally from Rialto
RB Nathan Tilford from Colony High School in Fontana
RB John Burton from Chaminade College Prep in West Hills
DB Adama Fall from Simi Valley High School in Simi Valley
K Lucas Havrisik from Norco High School in Riverside
DL Nahe Sulunga & DL Mykee Irving from Calabasas High School in Inglewood
LS Seth MacKellar from J Serra Catholic in San Juan Capistrano
WR Stanley Berryhill III from Orange Lutheran High School in Orange
DL Kyon Barrs from Murrieta Mesa High School in Murrieta
Player connections won’t be the only Arizona-California connections here as USC CB coach Donte Williams was the CB coach at Arizona back in 2016 and USC DL Coach Vic So’oto was a linebacker on the Arizona Cardinals back in 2013.
Family ties run deep as well as USC offensive lineman Jalen McKenzie was a linebacker for the Cardinals as well and Pola-Mao’s father played for the AFL’s Arizona Rattlers in the 90s.
Arizona defensive back Lorenzo Burns’ father DeChon was a letterman for USC back in 1989 while we all remember Arizona DB Coach Greg Burns from his multiple stints on the USC coaching staff.
Arizona’s OL Coach Kyle DeVan was a GA coach at USC in 2014 and the athletics departments also share commonalities between the two states.
The game within the game is certainly featured here as the two states are tied together, physically and personally in the USC vs Arizona matchup.