Inarguably, USC lost a lot of talent to the NFL Draft following the 2008 season.
A closer look at the stats reveals just how incredibly much.
The 11 Trojan draft picks from last year have played in a combined 95 games and racked up a combined 54 starts during their rookie seasons this fall — and that’s through just Week 13. The USC-bred rookies are already making quite a name for themselves. Mark Sanchez is quarterback of a 6-6 New York Jets team that’s one game out of a playoff spot, linebacker Brian Cushing is a top candidate for defensive rookie of the year and linebackers Rey Maualuga and Clay Matthews are forging star roles for themselves on their respective squads.
And that’s just the beginning. Take a look at what all the Trojan rookies are doing during their first seasons in the NFL:
- QB Mark Sanchez (New York Jets, 1st round, 5th overall pick) • 12 starts, quarterbacking a 6-6 squad that’s one game out of the AFC playoff race
- LB Brian Cushing (Houston Texans, 1st round, 15th overall pick) • 12 starts, 5th in the NFL with 102 tackles (No. 1 among rookies), 3 INTs, 12 passes defended (best among all LBs)
- LB Clay Matthews (Green Bay Packers, 1st round, 26th overall pick) • 9 starts (appeared in all 12 games), 13th in the NFL with 7 sacks (No. 1 among rookies), 2 forced fumbles
- LB Rey Maualuga (Cincinnati Bengals, 2nd round, 38th overall pick) • 12 starts
- DL Fili Moala • (Indianapolis Colts, 2nd round, 56th overall pick) • Appeared in 6 games
- WR Patrick Turner (Miami Dolphins, 3rd round, 87th overall pick) • Appeared in 2 games
- LB Kaluka Maiava (Cleveland Browns, 4th round, 104th overall pick) • 3 starts (appeared in all 12 games), 33 tackles, 2 forced fumbles
- DL Kyle Moore (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4th round, 117th overall pick) • Appeared in 4 games
- K David Buehler (Dallas Cowboys, 5th round, 172nd overall pick) • Appeared in all 12 games, 20 touchbacks (No. 4 in the NFL) in just 60 kickoffs, 66.6 yard kickoff average
- CB Cary Harris (Buffalo Bills, 6th round, 183rd overall pick) • Appeared in 2 games
- S Kevin Ellison (San Diego Chargers, 6th round,189th overall pick) • 6 starts (appeared in 9 games), 36 tackles
Linebacker Brian Cushing headlines a USC rookie class that has racked up 54 starts and appeared in 95 games so far during the NFL season. [Photo courtesy of Getty Images]