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O/NSO: The welcome breakfast edition

The Obvious: Friday morning marked the beginning of the 2018 USC Trojans’ unsupervised June team workouts on campus, and there was great anticipation that most if not all of the ballyhooed 2018 incoming freshmen class would be in attendance.

The Not So Obvious: However, when the balls were rolled out onto Brian Kennedy Field around 8 a.m., incoming supertar frosh quarterback JT Daniels and his heralded fellow freshmen buddies were away attending a “welcome breakfast” and did not participate in the morning’s gridiron festivities. It’s also not unusual for the incoming class to miss the first day of summer workouts due to filling out school related documents and moving into their new digs. All eyes were expected to be on the debut of Daniels, who recently completed the herculean academic task of completing his senior year as a junior at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei High in order to compete for the 2018 starting job at USC. So, the Daniels debut will have to wait until next week’s scheduled workout.

The Obvious: Friday would have also unveiled JT Daniels’ favorite high school target, electrifying receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who many considered last season’s top prep wideout in the country.

The Not So Obvious: Besides the overwhelming spotlight on Daniels, players from what many consider the No. 3 recruiting class in the country like St. Brown figure to make this summer’s June workouts unlike what we’ve seen in recent times. If you saw what you liked in spring ball from early freshmen enrollees like C Justin Dedich, S Talanoa Hufanga, LBs Kana’i Mauga and Raymond Scott, CB Chase Williams, and DT transfer Caleb Tremblay, you can see why future Trojan expectations are reaching towards the heavens.

The Obvious: Although there was disappoint that JT Daniels and company were not in Friday morning’s opening festivities on BK Field, there’s still no question that the arrival of quarterback Daniels on campus is an unavoidable gridiron tsunami of unreal expectations and anticipation.

The Not So Obvious: Get used to it Trojan fans, this kid is being hailed as the future gridiron messiah of USC football, and there are legit reasons to believe he is the real deal, a rare combination of brains, skill, and athleticism. The O/NSO has traditionally been very skeptical of prep phenoms coming out of high school, but JT appears to be the exception. As you watch this musical highlight film of Daniels, play close attention towards the end of the video and his vocal competitiveness at the prestigious US Army All-America game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6iYss8tGdA

The Obvious: Beginning with summer workouts, sophomore Matt Fink and redshirt freshman Jack Sears (photos above – Fink on left and Sears on right) will vigorously compete with JT Daniels for the 2018 starting quarterback position.

The Not So Obvious: If you think that Fink and Sears will rollover for Daniels, think again. Fink and Sears, both of whom didn’t separate themselves enough to be safely free from the approaching shadow of Daniels, will certainly be under scrutiny to hold off the talents of the arriving freshman prodigy. At the outset of competition, all three quarterbacks have commented at the end of spring ball that they will help Daniels for the good of the team and agree let the best man win the job.

The Obvious: Former Trojan quarterback Carson Palmer and former safeties Troy Polamalu and Dennis Thurman are three all-time great Trojan football players.

The Not So Obvious: The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame announced on Monday the names on the 2019 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, and those names include Carson Palmer, Troy Polamalu, and Dennis Thurman.

The Obvious: The 2018 College Football Championship Game will be played on Monday, Jan. 7, in Santa Clara.

The Not So Obvious: The announcement of the 2019 HOF Class will also be made Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif., on the same day as the CFP Playoff, which will be played later that evening at Levi’s Stadium.

The Not So Obvious: The 2019 HOF class will officially be inducted during the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10, 2019, at the New York Hilton Midtown.  The inductees will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute during the 2019 season.

The Not So Obvious: NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell said, “It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 5.26 million people have played college football and only 997 players have been inducted. The Hall’s requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of about 1,500 individuals who are even eligible. Being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to have ever played the game, and those actually elected to the Class will be part of a momentous year as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football in 2019.”

The Obvious: Former Trojan quarterback Carson Palmer played for his alma mater from 1998-2002.

The Not So Obvious: As a College Football Hall of Fame candidate, to refresh your memory, Carson’s resume is as follows: A 2002 consensus First Team All-American and Heisman Trophy recipient…2002 Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year who set conference/school career records for total offense (11,621 yds) and passing yards (11,818)…Led USC to a share of the 2002 Pac-10 title and first 11-win season since 1979.

The Obvious: Former Trojan safety Troy Polamalu played for the cardinal and gold from 1999-2002 and was enshrined into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame last month.

The Not So Obvious: As a College Football Hall of Fame candidate, to refresh your memory, Troy’s resume is as follows: A two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 2002…Two-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection and finalist for the Thorpe Award as a senior…Two-year captain and 2001 USC MVP, who led Trojans to two bowl berths and a share of the 2002 Pac-10 title.

The Obvious: Former Trojan safety Dennis Thurman played for the Men of Troy from 1974-1977.

The Not So Obvious: As a College Football Hall of Fame candidate, to refresh your memory, Dennis’s resume is as follows: A two-time First Team All-American who led Trojans to four consecutive postseason wins, including the 1974 National Championship at the Rose Bowl…Two-time all-conference selection who helped the Trojans to two Pac-10 titles.

The Obvious: Ken Norton Jr is a former USC assistant coach under Pete Carroll and former UCLA All-America linebacker.

The Not So Obvious: As a College Football Hall of Fame candidate, to refresh your memory, Ken’s resume is as follows: A 1987 First Team All-American, leading the Bruins to four consecutive bowl wins… Member of the 1985 conference championship team… Led team in tackles in 1986 (106) and in 1987 (125) and ranks sixth in school history with 339 career tackles.

The Obvious: Pac-12 has passed a rule that requires teams to win at least six regular-season games to play in a bowl game.

The Not So Obvious: Six wins to play in a bowl game? Please, nobody should be allowed to play in a bowl game with just six wins. A team could go 6-6 and go to a bowl game. What kind of a reward is this for a 500 season? At the very least, the minimum number of wins should start at 7 games, but that would possibly be a violation of a bowl agreement.

The Obvious: And finally, Tommy Trojan is the iconic statue located in the center of campus and considered by many the most photographed spot on campus.

The Not So Obvious: Well, Happy Birthday, Tommy Trojan! Tommy turned 88 this past Wednesday. Fight On!!!

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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