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O/NSO: The USC Mount Rushmore series – The Standup Defensive Ends

The Obvious: Some say it’s a semantics game and some would add it’s just nomenclature, but in the O/NSO’s world, there has to be some sort of separation between this week’s four-man Mount Rushmore when it comes to standup defensive ends and outside linebackers.

The Not So Obvious: With so many great defensive players, we again advise all you good readers that when it comes to standup defensive ends, we tended to look at 5-2 (3-4) defenses. Our list of standup defensive ends was impressive, and if you saw them play in person or on film, you might also agree.  

However, before we announce our O/NSO Mount Rushmore of standup defense ends, we’d first like to recognize some of those standup defensive ends that were under consideration: Jeff Smith, Jimmy Walker, Ray May, Bill Hayhoe, James Sims, Rod Martin, Ed Powell and Dale Mitchell.  

One of the quickest standup defensive ends in USC history was James Sims (photo above), who started on the 1972 national champions.

As usual, 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 standup defensive ends for the O/NSO’s USC Football Mount Rushmore.

The Obvious: Timothy John “Tim” Rossovich (1965-67) was a 1967 consensus All-American standup defensive end in a 5-2 defense.

One of the most ferocious standup defensive ends in USC football history was Tim Rossovich (photo above), who was an All-American starter on the 1967 national champions.

The Not So Obvious: Tim (6-5, 235), who came to USC as a Parade High School All-American from Mountain View (Calif.) St. Francis HS, was a 1967 consensus All-American.

Tim was a starter both on the 1967 USC national champions and AAWU champs but was also a starter on the 1966 AAWU champs.

A captain on the 1967 national champions, Tim appeared in two Rose Bowls against Purdue and Indiana, respectively. Also a placekicker, No. 88 kicked an extra point in the 1968 Rose Bowl Game.

During Tim’s three seasons as a Trojans, his team’s combined record was 24-7-1.

In 1967, Tim was USC’s Lineman of the Year. He played with reckless abandon, played with brute force along the line of scrimmage, and was generally referred to as a “free spirit” on and off the field.

The free-spirited Rossovich was known for his intense, yet eccentric and off-beat personality. At USC and in the NFL, he would chew glass and lightbulbs, set himself on fire (including for a 1971 Sports Illustrated photo shoot), jumped off rooftops, and drove motorbikes off piers, among other pranks.

Tim Rossovich (photo above – No. 88) was a free spirit on and off the field and is part of USC football lore.

In 1968, Tim played in two post-season all-star games, the Coaches All-America Game and the College All-Star Game.

Following his USC career, Tim was selected as a first round (14th pick) of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1968 NFL Draft. He played in 13 NFL seasons from 1977 to 1989.

Tim, who became an actor and stuntman after his NFL career, was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.

Unfortunately, Tim passed in 2018 at the age of 72.

In the two videos below, the first is Tim (No. 88) in the all-time 1967 USC/UCLA classic. This is the full telecast of the game. The second video is an NFL produced video that gives a good account of his playing style on the field and his free spirit personality off it.

The Obvious: Jimmy Gunn (1967-1969) was a consensus 1969 All-American.

Jimmy Gunn (photo above) was a well-deserved All-American for USC as a standup defensive end. Although the photo above has the No. 30, Jimmy’s true jersey number at Troy was No. 83.

The Not So Obvious: Jimmy (6-1, 210) arrived at USC from San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln High.

During Jimmy’s cardinal and gold career, his USC team’s combined record was 29-2-2.

A three-year (1967-69) letterman, Jimmy was a starter on USC’s 1967 national championship team and participated in three Rose Bowls with Trojans teams that captured conference titles each season.

Jimmy, who was lightening quick and tough as nails, was a two-time (1968-69) All-Pac-8 first teamer and was a Trojan co-captain and Lineman of the Year in 1969. He was also a 1969 preseason Playboy All-American

Jimmy was USC’s Lineman of the Year on the famed 1969 Wild Bunch, which also consisted of defensive end Charlie Weaver, tackles Al Cowlings and Tody Smith, and nose guard Willard “Bubba” Scott.  

Jimmy Gunn (photo above – No. 83) was one of the leaders of the famed 1969 Wild Bunch, which was college football’s most dominant defensive line.

After his senior season, Jimmy was selected to play in the 1970 Hula Bowl.

Following graduation, Jimmy was a 13th-round selection by the Chicago Bears in the 1970 NFL Draft.

Jimmy was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.

In the video below, with two broken hands, Jimmy Gunn (No. 83) still managed to play in the 1969 Rose Bowl against Ohio State. The video is the entire NBC telecast, and Gunn’s performance is noteworthy because the offensive line of the Buckeyes had two huge future NFL offensive tackles in Dave Foley and Rufus Mayes.  

The Obvious: Charles Earl “Charlie” Weaver Jr. (1969-70) was a consensus 1970 All-American.

All-American standup defensive end Charlie Weaver (photo above) was unstoppable in his two seasons at Troy.

The Not So Obvious: Charlie (6-2, 214) was a junior college transfer from Arizona Western by way of Richmond (Calif.) High.

Besides being a 1970 consensus All-American defensive end, Charlie was also All-Pac-8 and USC’s Most Inspirational Player.

In his two-year career at SC, Charley’s teams went a combined 16-4-2.

A captain on the 1970 team, Charlie played in the 1970 Rose Bowl Game against Michigan, a defensive game the Trojans won 10-3.

Besides being a first team All-Conference selection in 1970, Charlie was awarded the Davis-Teschke Award as the Trojans Most Inspirational Award. 

In 1969, Charlie teamed with Al Cowlings, Jimmy Gunn, Tody Smith, and Willard “Bubba” Bubba Scott to form a defensive front that powered the Trojans to 10-0-1 record, which included that win over Michigan in the 1970 Rose Bowl.

Charlie Weaver, who was a vicious hitter, made one of the biggest hits in USC history when he knocked UCLA quarterback Dennis Dummit backwards five yards, which drew a tremendous response from a sold-out Coliseum.

Charlie Weaver (photo above – No. 84) played a huge part in the Trojans dramatic 14-12 victory over UCLA in 1969.

Prior to the 1970 season, Charlie was selected to the Playboy Preseason All-America team.  

After the 1970 season, Charlie played in the 1970 Shrine East-West Game, the 1971 Hula Bowl, College All-Star Game, and the Coaches All-American Game.

Following his USC career, Charlie was selected by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1971 NFL Draft. He played 11 seasons in The League.

Charlie was inducted in the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018.  

In the two videos below, the first is the Charlie’s USC Athletic Hall of Fame induction video, and the second is his acceptance speech.

The Obvious: William Lee “Willie” McGinest Jr. (1990-93) was a 1993 All-America (NEA) and two-time first team All-Pac-10 selection.

Willie McGinest (photo above) was so versatile that he was superior as both a standup defensive end and down lineman.

The Not So Obvious: Willie (6-5, 245), a Prep All-American product out of Long Beach (Calif.) High, was a true hybrid standup/three-point stance defensive end. He fit into this category because of his versatility. Willie’s athleticism was so advanced, he was also a stud on the basketball court and could have gone in that direction and been successful.

During his three seasons at USC, Willie’s teams were a combined 25-22-2.

While at Troy, Willie’s Cardinal and Gold appeared in the John Hancock Bowl and two Freedom Bowls.

As a junior in 1992, Willie was an All-Pac-10 first team selection and led the Trojans in sacks (16). He also led his Trojans’ defense in tackles for losses (23) and in fumbles caused (3).

Prior to his senior season, Willie was selected to the 1993 preseason Playboy All-America Team.

As a senior in 1993, Willie was a USC team captain and was again named All-Pac-10 first team and was an NEA All-American and leading the Trojans in sacks (6). He also led the Trojans’ defense in tackles for losses (13).

Willie McGinest finished his collegiate career with 193 tackles (134 solos), 29 sacks (171 yards), 48 tackles for loss (238 yards), and 26 passes batted away.

If ever a defensive player was deserving of wearing No. 55, it was Willie McGinest (photo above), who was a man among boys during his playing days at Troy.

After his senior season, Willie was selected to play in the 1993 East-West Shrine Game.

After his USC career, Willie was taken in the first round (4th pick) by the New England Patriots in the 1994 NFL Draft. He went on to be one of the cornerstones for New England’s defensive success in winning the Super Bowl in 2001, 2003, and 2004. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice (1996 and 2003). Willie is in the New England Patriots Hall of Fame

The two videos below show Willie first with former Trojans Sua Craven talking about their USC experience, and the second video shows Willie (No. 55) against UCLA in 1992.

The Obvious: And finally, it’s hard to say that the above selections weren’t deserving and that’s the point. It’s not to say some of those “honorable mentions” didn’t warrant part of the four-man Mount Rushmore. However, it’s just as important, in one man’s opinion, that the one’s in granite are deserving.    

The Not So Obvious: Next Friday, we’ll release our four-man Mount Rushmore inside linebackers.

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/

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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