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O/NSO: Field of Dreams edition

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

The Obvious: Former 2014 Trojans, junior All-America defensive tackle Leonard Williams and junior All-Pac-12 receiver Nelson Agholor (photo), were selected No. 6 and No. 20 by the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, in Thursday night’s first round of the 2015 NFL draft.

The Not So Obvious: Williams had previously stated that one of his biggest dreams was to hear his name called during the NFL draft and walk up on stage and that dream was fulfilled on Thursday night. Although “The Big Cat” had to wait a little longer than some anticipated, he was still all smiles while posing for pictures with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who presented Williams with a Jets jersey. As for Agholor, he was at home when the call came and was all hugs and kisses for his mother and father. It was certainly a feel-good day for Trojans everywhere.

The Obvious: Leonard Williams and Nelson Agholor became the 78th and 79th first-round draft picks in USC history, most in the nation.

The Not So Obvious: The first Trojan ever picked in the first round of the NFL draft was quarterback Doyle Nave, who was taken No. 6 overall by the Detroit Lions in 1940.

The Obvious: Most experts considered Leonard Williams to be the best defensive player available and top overall player in the draft, and many felt that “The Big Cat” would be selected by his home state team, Jacksonville, at No. 3 behind the expected quarterback picks of Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay) and Marcus Mariota (Tennessee), but the Jaguars instead opted for Florida defensive end Donte Fowler Jr.

The Not So Obvious: As for Williams new team, the New York Jets, they’ve now selected seven defensive players in the last six first rounds since taking Round 1 offensive player, former Jets and Trojans QB Mark Sanchez, fifth overall after trading up in the 2009 draft.

The Obvious: The New York Jets have a roster history of Trojans including the likes of OL Marvin Powell, OL Dave Cadigan, TE Mark Boyer, WR Windrell Hayes, RB Chad Morton, and, of course, Mark Sanchez.

The Not So Obvious: Williams will join a Jets franchise that currently has no Trojans on its roster. However, the new Jets coaching staff, under first-year coach Todd Bowles, has former Trojans assistant Bobby April (1987-1990) as special teams coordinator and former Trojans defensive back Daylon McCutcheon (1995-98) as assistant secondary coach. FYI, the Jets new staff also includes former UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell as wide receivers coach.

The Obvious: Leonard Williams wore jersey No. 94 at USC.

The Not So Obvious: Checking the Jets roster, No. 94 currently being worn by restricted free agent Damon Harrison, a defensive lineman.

The Obvious: Former Trojans wide receiver Nelson Agholor was selected No. 20 in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles, and it didn’t hurt that Eagles head coach Chip Kelly knows the Pac-12 from his coaching days at Oregon.

The Not So Obvious: Agholor will join former fellow Trojan quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley, and offensive lineman Kevin Graf. Chip Kelly has no former Trojans on his coaching staff.

The Obvious: Nelson Agholor wore jersey No. 15 during his Trojans career.

The Not So Obvious: No current Philadelphia player currently wears No. 15.

The Obvious: Trojans tailback Javorius “Buck” Allen remains on the draft’s “Big Board” but figures to be selected tonight (Friday) or Saturday.

The Not So Obvious: Yes, it will be great for Buck when his name is called, but his recent announcement that he has finished his last college final and ready to graduate is a greater accomplishment. There are those that never thought he could do it, and he proved all the naysayers wrong, as will the NFL teams that bypass him in the draft.

The Obvious: Former Trojans linebacker Hayes Pullard is still waiting to be selected in the 2015 NFL draft.

The Not So Obvious: Give Hayes credit with his publically released NFL job application letter. It was such a wonderful window into the character of Pullard. Of course, anybody who covered No. 10 during his Trojans career knows the job application letter was pure him. On the letter alone, an NFL team needs to take a chance on this fine young man.

The Obvious: The Pac-12 Conference has hired David Coleman to lead a new model for its officiating programs.

The Not So Obvious: The O/NSO thinks a “new model” is good news. Let’s face it, when you watch how a Pac-12 game is officiated, there seems to be a disconnect with other conferences on how they officiate their games (holding calls). That was obvious again at last December when the Trojans played in San Diego’s Holiday Bowl and the crew was from the Big 12.

The Obvious: Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham answered questions and performed on Wednesday night at Bovard Auditorium.

The Not So Obvious: Yes, Buckingham performed “Tusk,” a Trojans Marching Band staple and then followed it up with a rousing rendition of one of the O/NSO’s favorite Fleetwood Mac songs, “Go your own way.” Buckingham even wore a Trojans band helmet at the conclusion of the evening. Sounds like a great halftime waiting to happen in the future.

The Obvious: Alabama has hired Georgia State wide receivers coach and former NFL and Trojans wide receiver Keary Colbert for an unspecified assistant position, according to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Not So Obvious: Okay, Colbert coached one season at GS and now has been reunited with his former Trojans coach Lane Kiffin. If current Trojans wide receiver coach Tee Martin does eventually leave Steve Sarkisian’s staff, isn’t it a no-brainer to go after Keary, who now has experience recruiting the South?

The Obvious: The Trojans have received a verbal commitment from Alabama schoolboy performer wide receiver Velus Jones (6-0, 175), class of 2016.

The Not So Obvious: So how long will it take before the Crimson Tide, who have yet to court Jones, do a U-turn? A rather interesting note of Jones’s verbal, the Saraland HS star, who led his team last season to the 6A state title game and was a first team All-State player, has never visited USC. The verbal is a “trust” verbal that Trojans coach Tee Martin has been able to secure from Jones and his family.

The Obvious: ESPN has released its national 2016 Top 300 recruiting list.

The Not So Obvious: In case you have yet to view the early 2016 list, it includes committed Trojans LB Mique Juarez (No. 43), OL Frank Martin (No. 127), LB Daelin Hayes (No. 213), and TB/CB Melquise Stovall (No. 219). Two other committed Trojans, DE Isaac Garcia and OL Nathan Smith did not make the cut…yet. It’s still very early in the process and you can bet the paycheck that Garcia and Smith will move up substantially as they perform in various competition camps and games.

The Obvious: Trojans head football coach Steve Sarkisian threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodgers Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Not So Obvious: Hosting the hated San Francisco Giants, Sark was part of USC Night at Dodger Stadium.

The Obvious: And finally, Steve Sarkisian was once a pitcher on the 1992 USC baseball team.

The Not So Obvious: Sark’s ceremonial first-pitch catcher was Dodgers sensational rookie centerfielder Joc Pederson, who once signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Troy before the big money of pro baseball made its presence felt. As for Sark’s ceremonial pitch to Pederson? It was low and outside, but it came in on the fly.

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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