Shotgun Spratling | USCfootball.com

USC fighting for No.1 Draft dog: Just Sayin'

From year to year and generation to generation of USC football, the NFL Draft has been a big, big deal as the story of Adoree' Jackson this week plays out.

Even though as we saw over the weekend, recruiting never takes a holiday. It's not the only thing  in college football these days.

Week after week, college football competition happens on a number of levels that matter a great deal to USC. Even when it's not obvious.

Like this weekend's NFL Draft. Sure, it matters most to the Trojans who will, and will not, get their names called. But it matters almost as much for USC football going forward as it becomes a part of the Trojan heritage.

Not to mention becoming a major talking point that, as we've seen, is an integral part of USC's recruiting outreach. We're Just Sayin'.

*** Here's just one detail of that history that should scare the heck out of USC's competitors. In the decade of 2007 through 2016, 10 years just past that encapsulated the entirety of USC's ridiculously unfair NCAA sanctions, USC -- along with LSU -- led the nation with 62 NFL Draft picks each as reported by Yardbarker.com. Through four -- or five -- head coaches. That's more selections than Alabama. More than Ohio State. More than Michigan, Notre Dame, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Stanford, Oklahoma, Oregon, Clemson, Florida State, you name the program. Pretty amazing stuff . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But there's no way to stand still here. USC, for example, is No. 1 in total NFL Draft picks all-time with 496 to Notre Dame's 493. And it would take some weird twists this weekend for that to change . . . Just Sayin'.

*** USC has more players on the NFL.com Draft board right now than Notre Dame does -- the Trojans' 10 to six for the Irish. And more players projected as Round 6 picks or better -- five for USC to three for ND. So the gap at No. 1 on the all-time NFL Draft list is a bit more likely to widen in USC's favor if all goes as projected . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But in the area of overall No. 1 picks, well this could be close. Right now, USC leads Ohio State 79 to 76 but again, checking the NFL.com Draft board, the Buckeyes are in a position to catch USC -- if Adoree' Jackson does not make it into the first round . . . Just Sayin'.

*** If Adoree' makes it into the first round, Ohio State -- even with its three projected first-round picks -- won't be able to catch USC . . . Just Sayin'.

*** The fun here is the way this breaks down into something of a head-to-head matchup at corner between Adoree' and OSU's two top corners -- Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore -- along with safety Malik Hooker. Something definitely to watch for in Round 1 . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Looking into the near future, there's one more NFL Draft benchmark where USC is No. 1 in the nation that's unlikely to change this year -- overall No. 1 picks. USC, with Notre Dame and Auburn, currently top that list with five apiece. And if you were playing the odds here, USC with Sam Darnold would be the pick here to break that tie in the next couple of years . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Which gets us to current players and just how they might impact the above numbers. Based on recent recruiting classes, and current rosters, USC would appear to be in good shape overall against Notre Dame for total picks. The Irish do not look to be gaining . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Ohio State, the way it's recruiting, is a threat, obviously, in the first-round battleground. But upperclassmen Iman Marshall, Rasheem Green, Daniel Imatorbhebhe, Uchenna Nwosu, Porter Gustin, Ronald Jones and Darnold -- but not limited to those players -- give USC a fighting chance there . . . Just Sayin'.

*** And if USC keeps recruiting the likes of Marlon Tuipulotu, Jay Tufele, Stephen Carr, Joseph Lewis, Austin Jackson, Matt Corral, Palaie Gaoteote and Tuli Letuligasenoa, to name just a few of the new guys, again, the Trojans will have a shot to hold off the Buckeyes . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But it's going to be an every-year, every day battle on all fronts -- as this weekend proves . . . Just Sayin'.

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.


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