The Obvious: One of the biggest weapons a team can have is the punting position. In the history of USC football, the Trojans have had an interesting history of punters. While not a glamor position given names from the past at other position units, USC punters by and large have gotten the job done.
The Not So Obvious: For the record, the Trojans have had only three punters that have been named first team all-conference, which includes just one All-America punter. Do you know who he is? That being said, field position in a game is critical, and the Trojans historically have played in so many big games where field position has been a critical element in helping determine the outcome.
Before announcing our four-man Mount Rushmore of all-time punters, let’s tip our caps to those placekickers who didn’t make our four-man list but are deserving of honorable mention recognition: Ernie Zampese, Ernie Jones, Jim Lucas, David Pryor, Troy Richardson, Ron Dale, Jim Wren, Mike MacGillivray, and Kris Albardo.
Feel free 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-man punters, which includes bowl game performances.
The Obvious: Desmond Dalworth “Des” Koch (1951-53) was a tremendous punter and an acknowledged overall standout athlete at Troy.
The Not So Obvious: Des Koch (6-0, 208), was from Shelton, Washington, and Reed High.
During Des’s three football seasons at USC, the Men of Troy were a combined 23-7-1 and went to the 1953 Rose Bowl game, where they defeated Wisconsin, 7-0, before 101,500 on New Year’s Day. The Trojans head coach was Jess Hill, who would later become USC’s athletic director.
Des averaged 44.6 yards punting in 1953. In Troy’s Rose Bowl victory over the Badgers that season, he set records for punting average (52.7 yards) and longest punt (72 yards).
Besides Des’s exploits on a football field, he was also on USC track and field teams that won NCAA titles in 1952, 1954, and 1955 and a bronze medal in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.
While there was no Des Koch highlights of his big day in the 1953 Rose Bowl, there are overall highlights of that Rose Bowl and the other big bowl games played that New Year’s Day. The Rose Bowl highlights of the Trojans narrow victory over Wisconsin starts at the 2:31:02:02 mark on the counter. The second video is a rather interesting look at the Trojans 1953 game program against Minnesota. Koch is included in the individual player mugshots.
The Obvious: Marty King (1977-78), was a first team All-Pac-10 choice from San Jose (Calif.) Bellermine Prep High and West Valley JC.
The Not So Obvious: Marty King (6-2, 210) was a four-year letterman.
During his two-season USC career, Marty’s Trojans teams had a combined record of 20-5-0 and played in the 1977 Bluebonnet Bowl against Texas A&M, a 20-17 victory by the Men of Troy, and the 1979 Rose Bowl, which the Trojans beat Michigan 17-10.
For his punting career, Marty averaged 39.9 (1977) and 41.7 (1978) yards per kick. In 1978, He established Trojans season records for most punts (70) and punt yards (2,921).
Unfortunately, Marty passed away from heart disease at the age of 60 after having been a prosecutor in San Jose.
In the video below, Marty King (No. 4) contributes to the Trojans 17-10 victory over Michigan in the 1979 Rose Bowl Game.
The Obvious: John Stonehouse (1992-95) was a first-team 1995 All-Pac-10 punter for the Trojans.
The Not So Obvious: John Stonehouse (5-11, 230) was a recruit from Los Angeles Loyola High.
During his four seasons at Troy, John’s USC teams were a combined 30-15-3, and he played in the 1992 and 1993 Freedom Bowls, 1995 Cotton Bowl, and the 1996 Rose Bowl.
The Trojans won the conference in 1995, and John appeared in the 1996 Rose Bowl against Northwestern, an exciting cardinal and gold 41-32 victory.
For his four-year career, John averaged 39.8 yards per punt. In 1995, his senior season, he averaged 43.6 yards per punt on 44 punts.
After his USC career, John was signed as a free agent by the New York Giants.
The video below is John Stonehouse (No.17) in the 1996 Rose Bowl game, an exciting USC 41-32 victory over Northwestern. Stonehouse made a critical 50-yard punt from deep in his own end zone in the third quarter to help preserve the victory.
The Obvious: Thomas “Tom” Malone (2002-05) is the first and only USC All-America punter (2003) and is considered by many the best punter in USC history.
The Not So Obvious: Tom Malone (6-0, 190) from Lake Elsinore (Calif.) Temescal Canyon High, had a right leg that many compared to a cannon.
During four-year Trojans’ career, Tom’s teams combined for a 48-4 record, won two national championships (2003/2004), and played in the 2003 and 2005 Orange Bowls and 2004 and 2006 Rose Bowls.
For his career, Tom averaged 44.0 yards per punt with a high of 49.0 average in 2003, which is a USC record. In terms of distance, 55 of his 185 career attempts traveled 50 yards and 95 of his punts put the opponent inside their own 20-yard line 95 times.
After his senior season, Tom played in the 2006 East-West Shrine Game.
The video below spotlights Tom (No. 18) in the 2004 Rose Bowl domination game over Michigan. The video is the first half, which showcases Tom’s powerful leg.
The Obvious: And finally, selecting a four-man Mount Rushmore for punters was a challenge, but it was well worth the effort.
The Not So Obvious: Next Friday, we’ll release our four-man Mount Rushmore group of assistant coaches and what a group to select from.
Below are the previous O/NSO USC Football Mount Rushmore position selections:
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 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 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 kickoff returners: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-kickoff-returners/
The punt returners: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-punt-returners/