The star-studded USC offense, led by senior quarterback Matt Barkley, will be the focus of considerable media attention this football season, but the much-maligned defense earned some headlines of its own last week, as cornerback Nickell Robey and safety T.J. McDonald were recognized on preseason watch lists for the Nagurski, Thorpe, and Bednarik awards.
Senior safety T.J. McDonald (pictured) and junior cornerback Nickell Robey represent the USC Trojans on three preseason awards watch lists.
A weak spot for USC in Lane Kiffin’s first two seasons as head coach, the defense should continue to improve in 2012, with Robey and McDonald providing stability and leadership in the secondary. McDonald, a senior captain, has 23 starts with the Trojans; Robey, a junior, has 24. Both players have six career interceptions and were first-team All-Pac-12 selections in 2011.
Though they share interception totals, preseason accolades, and a penchant for mentoring the newest members of the USC defense...