Obvious/Not So Obvious - Super Bowl edition

With the USC Trojan football program closing in on the national recruiting title, Super Bowl XXXVll in San Diego will provide the country and those last valued blue-chip holdouts a chance to see the Trojans' impact on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders.

The Obvious - With the USC Trojan football program closing in on the national recruiting title, Super Bowl XXXVll in San Diego will provide the country and those last valued blue-chip holdouts a chance to see the Trojans' impact on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders.

The Not So Obvious - Over 83 former Trojans have appeared in Super Bowls, and at least one Trojan has appeared in all but two of all the Super Bowl games. In 1977, nine USC alums played in professional football's biggest showcase.

The Obvious - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' first coach was USC's legendary John McKay, who coached the expansion Bucs to the NFL title game against the Rams in only Tampa Bay's fourth year of existence.

The Not So Obvious - The general manager of Tampa Bay is the late John McKay's son Richard "Richie" McKay, who grew up in Los Angeles, but graduated from Tampa Jesuit High and Princeton University.Richie is the younger brother of legendary USC receiver J.K. McKay.

The Obvious - Tampa Bay will feature three former Trojans in all-star receiver Keyshawn Johnson, defensive back Brian Kelly, and quarterback Rob Johnson.

The Not So Obvious - The Bucs are coached by three former Trojan assistant coaches. Tampa Bay's wide receivers' coach Kirby Wilson was in the same capacity in Pete Carroll's first SC year. Former 1995 Trojan line coach Rod Marinelli out of Rosemead High handles the Tampa Bay defensive line, and former Trojan linebacker Joe Barry, son of former USC line coach Mike Barry, handles the Buccaneers' linebackers.

The Obvious - The Trojan coaching staff has a Tampa Bay Super Bowl connection as USC receivers' coach Lane Kiffin is the son of Monte Kiffin, Tampa Bay defensive coordinator.

The Not So Obvious - Although the word is out, son Lane Kiffin is working his Florida recruiting magic as the Trojans are looking at Plant (Florida) quarterback Stephen Reeve (6-1, 190). Reeves, the son of former Florida great John Reeves, is actually Lane's brother-in-law married to Reeves' older sister Layla. Oh, it should be mentioned that Reeves also threw passes to USC frosh sensation Mike Williams, also from Plant High.

The Obvious - Look at the Oakland Raider roster and for the first time in a long Super Bowl while, Al Davis does not have a Trojan listed as an active playing Raider.

The Not So Obvious - However, the Raider coaching staff includes Skip Peete, brother of former Trojan All-American quarterback Rodney Peete. Let's also not forget the name of some guy named Al Davis, who was a Trojan assistant coach 1957-59. In addition, one of Davis' college scouts is former Trojan halfback Angelo Coia.

The Obvious - The West Coast Super Bowl will be telecast Sunday on ABC at 3:15 p.m. (PST) with Al Michaels and John Madden.

The Not So Obvious - A Trojan will get valued "recruiting" air time, as USC's Lynn Swann, All-American and MVP of the 1976 Super Bowl, will be a sideline reporter.

The Obvious - Some recruiting experts are saying that one of the current running back commits Reggie Bush, Lendale White, or Chauncy Washington may turn out to be the best Trojan back since Marcus Allen.

The Not So Obvious - This is the Raiders' first Super Bowl appearance since Marcus Allen led the silver and black to the title in 1984. Allen was named the MVP of that Super Bowl. The last Trojan running back in the big game was Redskins' Ricky Ervins in Super Bowl XXVl.

The Obvious - Mission Viejo offensive lineman Drew Radovich was named this week to the prestigious Parade All-American team, which will be part of this coming Sunday's papers.

The Not So Obvious - It has been a big week for Mission Viejo High coach Bob Johnson, who not only saw his Radovich named to the Parade All-America team, but the Johnson family will travel to San Diego to root for son and brother Rob, the backup Tampa Bay and former Trojan quarterback.

The Obvious - In a January 1999 ESPN Magazine article, it was said, "One of the best ways to win a Super Bowl is to (have a USC player on the team).

The Not So Obvious - USC has the most players on a Super Bowl winning team with 45 followed by Notre Dame (38) and Penn State (35).

The Obvious - This year's Super Bowl could turn out to be another battle between the Trojans and the Irish as Keyshawn Johnson and Tim Brown try to led their teams to victory.

The Not So Obvious - Having Keyshawn again in the nation's spotlight should help the Trojans' recruiting efforts, not to mention recruiting visits in the future to his popular Los Angeles restaurant

The Obvious - Another big moment by a Trojan in the Super Bowl may help SC in the current recruiting wars. Of course nothing will compensate for the Trojans big wins against high profile teams like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on national television and its down-the-road effects in recruiting.

The Not So Obvious - Said the Chicago Sun-Times' Taylor Bell, "Notre Dame's season-ending, crash-and-burn losses to USC and North Carolina State sacked Irish recruiting for a big loss and sent coach Tyone Willingham scrambling to establish a new game plan only three weeks before the Feb. 5 signing date.

The Obvious - Viewing the Irish loss to the Trojans first-hand in the Coliseum was eventual USC commit tailback Reggie Bush, who was said to be personally recruited by Tyrone Willingham.

The Not So Obvious - Continued the Sun-Times Bell, "For example, Reggie Bush of La Mesa, Calif., one of the two best running backs in the nation, said he was leaning toward Notre Dame - - until the USC game. On Jan. 5, he committed to USC. He never visited Notre Dame. He felt he would be more comfortable playing in the USC offense."

The Obvious - Tampa Bay's number one overall pick in the 1977 NFL draft was thunderous late USC tailback Ricky Bell, who ran like the former Fremont High linebacker that he was - a beast.

The Not So Obvious - Tampa Bay's Keyshawn Johnson was the NFL's number one overall pick in 1996, when "Key" was drafted by, can you remember?

The Obvious -The Trojans are awaiting word on Taft All-American receiver Steve Smith, who had his visit this past weekend and must decide between the Trojans and Tennessee.

The Not So Obvious - From various sources, it sounds like Smith, the only "10" in the prestigious 2003 Long Beach Press-Telegrams' "Best in the West" is having a harder time saying no to Tennessee than yes to USC. If Smith hasn't decided by Super Sunday, don't underestimate the effect that Keyshawn Johnson has on Smith and future USC recruits, especially receivers. You can bet that "Key" will get in his Trojan plug sometime this week, during and after the Super Bowl.

The Obvious - Nobody is more happy about the Trojans return to college prominance and will be more than a casual Super Bowl viewer than USC athletic director and Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett.

The Not So Obvious - Garrett , an All-Pro running back with the Kansas City Chiefs, played in Super Bowls 1 and lV and is best remembered by NFL films in the Chiefs' Super Bowl lV victory when a "miked" Kansas City coach Hank Stram called out a touchdown running play to Garrett announced as "22 toss cross-power trap".

The Obvious - There is no better city to hold a Super Bowl than San Diego, which is certainly a great location for lucky Trojan fans with tickets.

The Not So Obvious - There will be no better place to watch or visit during Super Bowl week than Junior Seau's restaurant sports bar. The former Trojan All-American linebacker and 1995 Super Bowl participant with the San Diego Chargers has a sports bar second to none.

The Obvious - Former Trojan and Tampa Bay D-back Brian Kelly will have his hands full trying to defend Oakland's Jerry Rice and Tim Brown.

The Not So Obvious - Kelly recently gave high marks to the Trojans' return to prominance and was quite supportive of his alma mater on the sidelines of the Orange Bowl.

The Obvious - Speaking of possible future Super Bowl defensive backs, current USC defensive back Marcell Allmond will compete in the 43rd Los Angeles Invitational Indoor Track Meet Feb. 15 at the Sports Arena.

The Not So Obvious - The track meet will also feature a sprint of high school football stars, and one of those is rumored to be Trojan tailback commit Reggie Bush.

The Obvious - USC will unvail quarterback Carson Palmer's Heisman Trophy and Orange Bowl trophy at noon Wednesday at Heritage Hall.

The Not So Obvious - All NFL teams aspire to get to the Super Bowl, and Carson Palmer figures to give one team that dream come NFL draft day. If Palmer is selected first overall in the draft as ESPN's Mel Kiper predicts, it will tie USC with Notre Dame with the most overall number one picks (5).

The Obvious - The recruiting season is winding down, and it figures that one of the Trojans' commits will very well end up in the Super Bowl if history has anything to say on the matter.

The Not So Obvious - Recently, former star USC tight end and former Super Bowl Pittsburgh Steeler guard Gerry "Moon" Mullins was featured in a Pittsburgh newspaper. Mullins, who was a star at Anaheim High under the legendary Claire Van Hoorbrekke, said, "I was fortunate to have good coaching throughout my career...in high school and then at USC with John McKay, who was one of the best."

The Obvious - One of Pete Carroll's strengths as a coach is to change players positions to better both the USC team and the player. Gerry Mullins came to USC as a All-CIF blocking tight end but made a memorable Trojan catch with a simple crossing pattern in an exciting come-from-behind game against the Stanford Cardinal (known then as the Indians) in the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious - Gerry Mullins' line coach at USC was Washington Redskins' legendary Super Bowl coach Joe Gibbs. Mullins is now president of Industrail Metals and Minerals in Bridgeville, Pa.

The Obvious - As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, Marcus Allen will be honored at his high school alma mater San Diego Lincoln with a mural sized painting to be unveiled in the school auditorium featuring Allen in Super Bowl XVlll.

The Not So Obvious - For you younger Trojan fans, Allen came to USC not as a running back, but as a quarterback and defensive back. Eventually Marcus moved to fullback and blocked for Charles White.

The Obvious - Sultan McCullough improved his NFL stock with a 76-yard screen pass touchdown in the East-West Shrine Game.

The Not So Obvious - Virginia Tech DB Ronyell Whittaker who tried to catch Sultan said, "I've NEVER seen anybody that fast, except for maybe Santana Moss (NY Jets)." Sultan finished his Trojan career ranked 8th on the all-time rushing list.

The Obvious - So who is USC recruiting that could be the next Warren Sapp and led his team to a Super Bowl?

The Not So Obvious - The Trojans are still hoping to land Louisiana tackle Ryan Watson, who has returned from an enthusiastic trip to LSU. The Trojans are in tough competition with the likes of Miami, but Watson has family members who live in various parts of Los Angeles.

The Obvious - While Super Bowl week and college all-star games always has some potential NFL uplifting stories,one wonders what might have happened to the career of former Trojan quarterback Jason Thomas had he made a switch to tight end and caught passes from Carson Palmer.

The Not So Obvious - In a recent story in the Las Vegas Sun by former Trojan beat writer Steve Guiremand, Thomas' father seemed very angry over his son's UNLV quarterback career. Of his son's UNLV career, Charles Thomas said of John Robinson, "My son was put into a position to fail. He's made a Heisman candidate, something he really didn't want to do, and he doesn't have a quarterback coach? People I talk to can't believe it. We endorsed his (Jason) decision (to go to UNLV), but if Coach Robinson had told us Jason would not have a QB coach for two years, then we would not have supported his (Jason) decision."

The Obvious - Virginia running back Tony Hunt is no longer considered in the Trojan recruiting fold.

The Not So Obvious - Perhaps most hurt by Hunt's change of direction is not the Trojans, but his T.C. Williams High School coach Riki (Gray) Ellison, who was a star linebacker at USC and wanted very badly to see his star come west.

The Obvious - USC is awaiting recruiting word on Michigan linebacker LaMarr Woodley, considered the best player in Michigan, who has finished his visits and is down to USC, Michigan, and Michigan State.

The Not So Obvious - Woodley may be watching the Super Bowl with best friend running back and Saginaw High teammate Jerome Jackson, with whom Woodley has been playing football since seventh grade. In a story in the Detroit News, Woodley is said to be interested attending college with his best friend, but LaMarr says he likes the USC linebacker tradition. The Trojans are not recruiting Jackson.

The Obvious - While there was going to be no change in the draft status of Carson Palmer in the Senior Bowl, tailback Justin Fargas showed the nation he is ready to go to the next level.

The Not So Obvious - It is a medical work of art that Justin's performance in the Senior Bowl was a continuation of his rehab. He looked just has tough and quick against the best college seniors and gave Trojan fans a glimpse into what a Trojan and injury free he could have had at USC. He even displayed one move that totally froze a defender which certainly was noticed by NFL scouts both in the game and in practices.

The Obvious - One former Trojan who figures to be in a Super Bowl party mode is WeAreSC.com columnist and media personality Petros Papdakis, who is never at a loss for opinion.

The Not So Obvious - In a recent Trojan radio show with Pete Arbogast, Petros was asked about JC linebacker Marvin Simmons and Petros said, "I think he's going to come." Of freshman tackle Winston Justice, Papadakis added, "Winston Justice is a freak. I was watching him in the Orange Bowl and he knows his assignments and doesn't make mistakes."

The Obvious - This is currently the time when high school All-America teams such as Parade, Riddell, Insiders, Rivals, etc., are announced.

The Not So Obvious - Recruiting guru Bobby Burton has come out with the 2002 Riddell Footwear High School All-America team and lists offensive lineman Drew Radovich (6-5, 275, 5.1) and defensive lineman Sedrick Ellis (6-3, 260, 4.75) of Chino on his first team.

The Obvious - One of the highest honors a West Coast player can receive is being voted onto the prestigious Long Beach Press-Telegrams' Best in the West.

The Not So Obvious - However, one has to wonder about this year's voting which has Reggie Bush as "only" a nine. Having seen in person past "10"s in the PT, sure would like to know who didn't vote for Bush. You'll rarely here it here, but this kid IS the real deal. The same "voters" did give Concord De La Salle super back Maurice Drew a "5". Comment - Ridiculous. Here's hoping the same voters are not in charge of the Super Bowl MVP.


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