2004 Trojan NFL Draft Roundup

April 27, 2004

Los Angeles - The 2004 NFL draft has come and gone and the defending national champion USC football team was well represented in the annual affair that took place in New York this past weekend.

Four Trojans were drafted off a young 2003 football team that returns 80 squadmen and 50 lettermen in 2004. In the last two years, nine USC players have been drafted from teams that went a combined 23-3 and won two BCS bowl games.

All-American defensive end Kenechi Udeze was the 20th selection overall in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings. Udeze is the first Trojan defensive lineman to be selected in the first round since Darrell Russell was the second overall pick by the Oakland Raiders in 1997. He's also the first defensive end to be selected in the first round from USC since Tody Smith in 1971 and he's the third Trojan selected in the first round during the Pete Carroll era. He's the first USC player to be drafted by the Vikings since Joe Cormier in 1986.

One of the nation's premier defensive ends, Udeze helped guide the Trojans to a share of the national title in 2003 as the leader of what was regarded to be the premier defensive line in college football--the Wild Bunch II. The three-year starter (36 of 37 games) recorded 135 tackles (94 solos) with 28 sacks for minus 185 yards, 51 stops for losses of 245 yards, a school career-record 14 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, an interception, five pass deflections and two blocked kicks.

Two other Trojans were taken in the second round. All-American left tackle Jacob Rogers and all-time receiving leader Keary Colbert.

Rogers was the 52nd pick overall by the Dallas Cowboys. He's the second Trojan offensive lineman to be taken in the first two rounds of the draft in the last four years. He was a consensus All-American by the Associated Press, Football Writers Association, American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp, Sports Illustrated and College Football News, becoming USC's first All-American first team offensive lineman since Tony Boselli in 1994. He was a two-time All-Pac 10 Conference first-team choice and he won the Pac-10's Morris Trophy as the league's top offensive lineman in 2003 (chosen by the Pac-10's starting defensive linemen). He started every game in 2003, collecting 103 key blocks (knockdowns/pancakes) with thirteen of them resulting in touchdowns, as he helped the offense average 447.5 yards per game.

Keary Colbert was the 62nd pick of the draft by the Carolina Panthers, who were the Super Bowl runner ups. Colbert is the all-time leading receiver in USC history with 204 receptions--surpassing such USC greats as Johnny Morton, Keyshawn Johnson and Curtis Conway. He's the highest-drafted Trojan wide receiver since R. Jay Soward was a first-rounder in 2000 and USC has now had 12 wide receivers taken in the last 12 NFL drafts (including four first rounders). Colbert was only the third Trojan to have back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He will long be remembered by Trojan fans for his spectacular one-handed touchdown grab in USC's Rose Bowl victory over Michigan that clinched the national title for USC.

Will Poole was selected in the fourth round (102nd pick) by the Miami Dolphins. He's the fourth Trojan defensive back (and third cornerback) drafted by the NFL in the last three years. Poole had a dominant senior season for USC, leading the squad with 7 interceptions, while adding 80 tackles (9 for loss).

In addition to the draftees, three other Trojans signed free agent contracts on Monday: defensive back Marcell Allmond and guard Lenny Vandermade with the Baltimore Ravens and center Norm Katnik with the San Francisco 49ers.

The 2004 Trojans kick off their season against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the BCA Classic in Landover, Maryland on August 28

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