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O/NSO: The USC Mount Rushmore series – The Corners

The Obvious: The legacy of greatness in the annals of USC football certainly points to a number of positions like tailback, quarterback, offensive linemen, and the list of legendary position names goes on and on.

The Not So Obvious: However, if there is one position group that perhaps doesn’t have quite the notoriety of the other star-studded position groups, it would be hard to argue that the history of USC corners doesn’t quite reach the lofty status of the other units. That being said, the corner position isn’t devoid of some outstanding football players. With that in mind, the O/NSO presents our four-man group of all-time corners on our Mount Rushmore.

Before announcing our four all-time corners, let’s salute those standout corners who didn’t make our legendary mountain of greatness but are certainly worthy of recognition and have had their moments: Willie Wood, Gary Hill, Pat Cashman, Tyrone Hudson, Charles Hinton, Tommy Haynes, Jason Seahorn, Chris Hale, Jeff Fisher, Louis Brock, Daylon McCutcheon, Brian Kelly, Ricky Odom, Will Poole, Nickell Robey, Kevin Thomas, Terrell Thomas, Shareece Wright, Kevon Seymour, and Marvin Cobb.

In a long line of outstanding corners, Daylon McCutheon (photo above) had quite a Trojans career (1995-98).

As always, feel at ease to differ from our selections and inform us of your own selections on the Garry P. WeAreSC message board. A reminder, our selections are not ranked in order of greatness but as a group and not by what they accomplished after their playing days at USC.

The O/NSO now presents our four corners for the O/NSO’s USC Football Mount Rushmore.

The Obvious: Nathaniel “Nate” Shaw (1964-66) was a consensus All-American USC in 1966.

Corner Nate Shaw (photo above) was a 1966 USC defensive All-American, who was a three-year performer.

The Not So Obvious: Nate Shaw (6-2, 192) was a highly decorated prep All-American recruit out of San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln High School.

During Nate’s three-year Trojans’ career, his teams combined for a 21-9-1 record and won two consecutive conference titles.

A big corner, Nate was a two-time first-team All-AAWU selection (1965-66).

A co-captain on the 1966 Trojans, Nate played in the 1967 Rose Bowl, a game in which the Trojans lost a heartbreaker to Purdue 14-13.

In his career, Nate recorded 10 interceptions and had an average return for those interceptions of 16.5 yards. Nate is tied for 19th on USC’s career interception list.  

Nate Shaw (photo above) was big for a corner during his era and wore the unusual No. 89 for a defensive back. (photo by University of Southern California/Collegiate Images via Getty Images)

Following his senior season, Nate was selected to play in the 1967 Hula Bowl.

Nate was drafted in the fifth round of the 1967 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams and played for the locals in 1969 and 1970.

Following his NFL career, Nate was an assistant coach for various organizations and returned to the Trojans as an assistant from 1980-86.

In the video below, Nate (No. 89) plays in the 1967 Rose Bowl game against Purdue. Although this is a Purdue production, the game opens with the coin toss, which includes captain Shaw and you then can watch Nate in action.

The Obvious: Danny Reece (1973-75) was a two-time All-Pac-8 corner.

All-star corner Danny Reece (photo above) was one of the hardest hitting corners in USC football history.

The Not So Obvious: Danny (6-0, 187) was recruited out of Wilmington (Calif.) Banning High, where he was a magnificent three-sport star in football, basketball, and baseball.  

Danny’s three football teams at USC were a combined 27-7-2, and he was a starter on the Trojans’ 1974 national championship team. A two-time first team All-Pac-8 selection in 1974 and 1975, he was a 1975 team captain.

During his three-season Trojans career, hard-hitting Danny appeared in the 1974 and 1975 Rose Bowls and the 1976 Liberty Bowl.

Regarding Danny’s physical style of play, Trojans’ legendary coach John McKay said, “I don’t think that there is a harder hitter in the country.”

Any opposition player against the Trojans had to know where Danny Reece (photo above- No. 46) was on the field because if you didn’t, Danny would make you pay.

Danny remains second in career pass interceptions for a Trojan with 18, just behind former safety Artimus Parker, who had 20 picks.  

Following the 1975 season, this Trojans all-time corner played in the 1976 Hula and Japan Bowls.

At the conclusion of his USC career, Danny was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round (69th overall pick) of the 1976 NFL Draft.

In the video below, Danny Reece (No. 46) plays in the 1975 Rose Bowl against Ohio State.

The Obvious: Joey Matthew Browner (1979-82) was a 1982 All-Pac-10 corner. 

Former Trojans corner Joey Browner (photo above) was the USC team Most Valuable Player in 1982.

The Not So Obvious: Joey Browner (6-3, 205) arrived at Troy from Atlanta (Ga.) Southwest High, where he was a Parade All-American.  

During his four-year USC career, Joey’s Trojans teams were a combined 36-8-1, and he played in the 1980 Rose Bowl and the 1982 Fiesta Bowl.

Born in Warren, Ohio, and playing at Warren Western Reserve High his first two seasons before moving to Georgia, Joey was a first-team All-Pac-10 corner (1982) and the Trojans team MVP, winning the Mike McKeever Memorial Award.

In 1982, Joey also was awarded the Marv Goux Award for being the Defensive Player of the Game against UCLA.  

For his Trojans career, Joey accounted for 243 total tackles, nine interceptions, 40 passes deflected, seven fumble recoveries and three touchdown returns.

Corner Joey Browner (photo above) was one of a number of players from his celebrated football family that went on to play major college football.

After his USC career, Joey was a first-round draft pick (19th overall selection) by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1983 NFL Draft.

In 2015, Joey was selected to the All-Pac-12 All-Century Team.

In the video below, Joey Browner (No. 47) helps the 1982 Trojans to a victory at Stanford.

The Obvious: Adoree’ Jackson (2014-16) is a 2016 consensus All-America corner and the second USC player to win the Jim Thorpe Award (2016) as the nation’s top secondary performer.

One of USC’s all-time great corners, Adoree’ Jackson (photo above) was the second Trojans player to win the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s most outstanding defensive back.

The Not So Obvious: Adoree’(5-11, 185) was a Prep All-American from Gardena (Calif.) Serra High. 

During his three seasons at Troy, Adoree’s USC teams were a combined 27-13.

Adoree’ was a two-time All-Pac-12 selection (2015-16) and was named a 2016 USC team captain and was also the Trojans’ team MVP in 2015 and 2016.

The gifted athlete originally from Belleville, Illinois, Adoree’ was the 2016 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

In his three-season career, Adoree’ accounted for 139 tackles (6 tackles for losses), 29 deflections, 6 interceptions, and 3 fumble recoveries.

Adoree’ Jackson (photo above – No. 2) makes sure a UCLA Bruins player knows not to come in his neighborhood.

While at Troy, Adoree’ appeared in the 2014 and 2015 Holiday Bowl and the 2017 Rose Bowl.

Once his USC career was completed by going early to the pros, Adoree’ was drafted in the first round (16th pick) of the 2017 NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans.

The video below is a collection of Adoree’ Jackson (No. 2) highlights, which includes not only his defensive talents, but his nationally acclaimed work as a kickoff and punt returner.

The Obvious: And finally, selecting a four-man Mount Rushmore for the corner positions took some real scrutiny.

The Not So Obvious: Next Friday, we’ll release our four-man Mount Rushmore special teams kickoff returners.

Below are the previous O/NSO USC Football Mount Rushmore position selections:

The head coach: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-football-mount-rushmore-series-edition-presenting-the-immortal-head-coaches/ 

The quarterbacks: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-quarterbacks/  

The running backs: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-tailbacks/  

The wide receivers: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-wide-receviers/

The fullbacks: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-fullbacks/

The offensive tackles: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-offensive-tackles/

The offensive guards: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-offensive-guards/

The centers: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-centers/

The tight ends: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-tight-ends/

The defensive linemen: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-defensive-linemen/

The standup defensive ends: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-standup-defensive-ends/

The inside linebackers: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-inside-linebackers/ 

The outside linebackers: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-outside-linebackers/

The safeties: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-safeties/

Greg Katz

Now entering his 59th season of either writing, broadcasting, or just plain watching USC football, WeAreSC columnist Greg Katz began his affiliation with the website back in 2001, introducing his well-received O/NSO (The Obvious/The Not So Obvious) column and later adding his respected IMHO Sunday opinion and tidbits column. Greg, a former ESPN.com college football columnist covering USC, is also a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. He is also known in Southern California as a professional public address announcer, having called the the 1996 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Northwestern. Greg also holds a master's degree in athletic administration and was a former varsity high school coach of 27 years.

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