Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and even O.J. Simpson all have one thing in common; they all attended the University of Southern California.
A nation high ten USC Trojans were selected in the 2008 NFL Draft with four of them in the first round. USC has produced 67 all-time 1st round draft picks.
Each year, USC exudes athletic excellence. While amassing 11 National Championships since their founding in 1888, the Trojans have also produced 11 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees. These players include:
- Frank Gifford, HB (1977)
- Ron Mix, OT (1979)
- Morris 'Red' Badgro, WR (1981)
- O.J. Simpso, RB (1985)
- Willie Wood, DB (1989)
- Anthony Munoz, OT (1998)
- Ronnie Lott, DB (2000)
- Lynn Swan, WR (2001)
- Ron Yary, OT (2001)
- Marcus Allen, RB (2003)
- Bruce Matthews, OT, C, OG (2007)
The Trojans hold the all-time record for players selected to the Pro Bowl with 162. There are currently 45 former Trojans in the NFL today.
So what makes USC one of the best schools to draft from? The type of offense that they run is the most NFL style offense in the NCAA.
USC runs a pro style offense that contains many different formations and personnel sets. Instead of focusing on just the run or pass, they have a very "balanced" offense. They keep the opposing defense honest by showing them they have to defend both the pass and run equally.
This is the same with most NFL style offenses. If you look at the Indianapolis Colts with Peyton Manning, you would think that their offense would be strictly pass oriented with little running of the football. However, the reason why they win football games is because their offense keeps the defense on their toes. The Colts may run the ball on first down then throw on second and run again on third just to make the defense respect both the passing game and the running game.
USC runs many of their plays from under center while only bringing out the shotgun formation for special situations. Nearly every team in the NFL runs this type of an offense.
Most colleges today run the spread offense which only a few NFL teams run. The Pittsburgh Steelers successfully transitioned to the spread offense under new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in the 2007 season in order to make better use of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's talents.
By giving their players experience in running and defending plays from under center, USC coaches have helped each draft class transition smoothly into the NFL.