“With the 218th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select, Leon McQuay, the defensive back from Southern California”. This selection announcement in the 6th round was made by Will Adcock, a flag football player from Kansas City, Missouri. The significance of this pick goes way beyond a young man’s dreams of becoming an NFL player. The importance of this pick must be traced back to the 1930’s, as McQuay became the 500th Trojan to be drafted by a NFL team.
The first USC Trojan to be drafted was Gil Kuhn, a three year letterman, team captain and the 10 round draft pick by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1936 (yes, the Brooklyn Dodgers also had a football team). However, this was a different time, and he opted not to pursue a career in professional football, instead taking his talents to Hollywood and becoming an assistant director, then a high school football coach, before deciding to enlist in the Air Force. In 1956, he left the Army and became the first Head Coach at the University of San Diego.
From Kuhn to O.J. Simpson in the 1969 draft, to Lynn Swann in the 74’ draft, followed by Marcus Allen, Anthony Munoz, and Ronnie Lott in the 80s. Next came a slew of Trojans in the 90’s including: Willie McGinest, Keyshawn Johnson, and Junior Seau. Troy Polamalu, Clay Matthews, Mark Sanchez, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Ryan Kalil came in the 2000’s. The next decade featured players like Leonard Williams, Matt Barkley, Nelson Agholor, Tyron Smith, and Adoree’ Jackson as a first round pick this last weekend. Those are just a handful of players in the sea of Trojans drafted.
Jackson, first round selection of the Tennessee Titans became the 497th Trojan picked in the NFL Draft’s history as he strode across the Philadelphia stage on night one. Juju Smith-Schuster, 2nd round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers was number 498. Offensive tackle, Zach Banner, became the 499th Trojan selected and finally Leon McQuay III became the 500th Trojan picked as he became the Kansas City Chiefs newest defensive back with their 6th round choice.
Opinions may differ on which is the best college football program in the nation, but statistics do not lie. As far as the program that feeds the most talent into the NFL, that is the USC Trojans.