Five Active NFL Players Who Started At USC

Leslie Torres-Valadez
Sam Darnold Week 8 Sleepers
New York Jets Quarterback Sam Darnold Vs The Washington Redskins. Photo Credit: KA Sports Photos - Under Creative Commons License

USC has produced very well known active NFL players. Sam Darnold, who went from NFL draft to starting quarterback for the New York Jets. Also wide receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is playing in his third season for the Pittsburgh Steelers and best known for his record-breaking rookie season. There are other active NFL players whose careers began at the University of Southern California. 

Here are five active NFL players who started at USC and are now looking to further their mark in the NFL. 

Five Active NFL Players Who Started At USC

Chuma Edoga, NY Jets Offensive Tackle

There is another former athlete from USC on the Jets that is not Sam Darnold. Meet Chuma Edoga, Jets offensive tackle. Edoga was drafted by the Jets in 2019 and has won the job to protect Darnold. His quick feet and long arms provide the perfect protection in the pocket. Still, in his first year with the Jets, he’s proved his versatility and showcased his blocking ability. Edoga has also secured himself a starting role. The Jets may need more help than other NFL teams, however, Edoga’s skills continue to be helpful on any football squad. 

Uchenna Nwosu, LA Chargers Linebacker

Uchenna Nwosu is also an active NFL player that came from USC and now plays for the Los Angeles Chargers. During his time at ‘SC, he recorded 93 tackles, 6 deflections, and 1 forced fumble. The outside linebacker was selected 48th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Chargers. Now he’s become a pivotal part of their defense.

Last season as a rookie, he played in all 16 games and started three of them. Nwosu recorded 28 tackles, 11 special teams tackles, and 2.5 sacks. He was also a key contributor for the Chargers divisional run last season. He forced a fumble on Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, securing the Chargers win. Nwosu remains an important asset for the Chargers this season with only two years in the NFL under his belt.

Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Back

Ronald Jones, another currently active NFL player, is beginning to make his mark with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his three years at USC, Jones played 39 games, with 591 rushing attempts, 3,619 rushing yards, and 39 rushing touchdowns. He was drafted in 2018 by the Bucs and had an unimpressive rookie season. However, this season his focus has sharpened and he is seeing a lot more action on the field. In the Bucs’ win over the Rams earlier this season, Jones rushed 19 times for 70 yards and scored a touchdown. Jones was able to deliver the win under the pressure of his old stadium and is expected to improve throughout the season. 

If given the opportunity, Jones can succeed. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston has not been playing consistently, so this could be Jones’ opportunity to save the Bucs season with his rushing game. 

Devon Kennard, Detroit Lions Linebacker

USC has a way with linebackers and thus produced Devon Kennard. Kennard is a USC alum who now plays for the Detroit Lions. The NFC North is packed with strong teams like the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings so, it’s not surprising that the Lions don’t get much attention. Devon Kennard should. He is a 7-year veteran who has played through many unfortunate NFL dramas. 

He was drafted by the dysfunctional NY Giants in 2014 where he played through two coaches. Kennard managed to play 12 games, six of them as a starter, in his first season. In that same rookie season, he finished with 43 combined tackles, 4.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a pass deflection. After his contract was up with NY, he signed with the Lions where he was an automatic starter and named team captain. 

This 2019 season, Kennard is continuing where he left off last year. In Week 1 against the Cardinals, he was responsible for three tackles against rookie QB Kyler Murray. A beast against any o-line and a name that should get a lot more recognition. 

Robert Woods, LA Rams Wide Receiver

Lastly, there is the 7-year vet in the NFL and USC alum who is currently playing for the Los Angeles Rams, Robert Woods. This wide receiver was drafted in 2013 by the Buffalo Bills and went straight to work. Woods shined in the Bills summer camp and training camp and nagged himself the starting position. Quickly in week one, he recorded his first NFL career reception which also happened to be a touchdown. After four seasons with the Bills, he signed with the Rams on a five-year deal.

He has returned to play in Los Angeles and is now continuing his legacy at the Coliseum as a Ram. The Rams hold some of the best offensive players and Woods continues to be their number one receiver. Woods has also been a voice of motivation, a voice they will need if they plan to make the playoffs again this season. 

Future Active NFL Players Spotlight

USC currently has thirty-five active NFL players across 20 teams. The alums are either already succeeding or heading towards that path. The Trojans’ ability to produce star players season after season comes as no surprise. They have prepared and developed players like Keyshawn Johnson and Reggie Bush. Now it is up to the new generation of players to uphold the Trojans’ standard and make a name for themselves.

Sam Darnold Week 8 Sleepers

New York Jets Quarterback Sam Darnold Vs The Washington Redskins. Photo Credit: KA Sports Photos – Under Creative Commons License