The Real Deal & Some History Too

2020 running back prospect Zachary Evans from Houston, Texas, already has at least 35 offers and now USC has jumped on his bandwagon too. It’s easy to see why and all it takes is about 30 seconds of his ubiquitous highlight tape.

He’s explosive, shifty, powerful (yet nimble), instinctive and has game-breaking speed at 5-11, 200 pounds. He also absolutely shows superior vision and feel for holes and lanes, while demonstrating terrific hands out of the backfield. I say Evans will be as tough to get out of Texas as he is to bring down.

USC has four Texans already on its roster: LB Levi Jones (Austin), RBs Ced Ware (DeSoto) and Chris Edmondson (Cibolo) and QB/PK Thomas Fitts (Dallas).

When I think of Trojan runners out of Texas, aside from McKinney’s Ronald Jones, now the early 2nd round pick of Tampa Bay, I always remember Dallas’ Delon Washington (2,231 total yds at USC), whose clutch running, late TD and game-tying-just-squeaked-in-2-point conversion, enabled USC to break its torturous 13-game losing/tying streak to Notre Dame in 1996.

On that Nov. 30, a week after a crushing, almost inexplicable, demoralizing double-overtime loss to UCLA (48-41) at the Rose Bowl, the Trojans came from behind and miraculously beat the Irish 27-20 in the Coliseum’s first overtime game.

John Atashian/ESPN

Hard to believe that splendid occasion was over 20 years ago. I was there watching a 5-6 USC team seemingly go down the tubes again to Lou Holtz (some college coaches called him “Lyin Lou”) and QB Ron Powlus until the heroics of Washington, LB/S Sammy Knight, QB Brad Otton and LB Mark Cusano (also from Texas) rescued the Trojans and sunk the 8-2 Fighting Irish, who were ranked No. 10 and angling for a New Year’s Day Bowl.

It was Holtz’ last game as the Golden Domers’ head coach. That final game Holtz ever coached for ND was, in fact, his only loss to the Trojans, whom he owned 9-1-1. My high school head coach at Newport Harbor, Wade Watts, was also Lou Holtz’ prep head coach in Ohio.                             

Watts, who was fired after my senior season at Harbor, would often show up on the Notre Dame sideline when the Irish were at the Coliseum and he was there that fateful, brutal streak-ending night  —  after which Holtz suddenly bowed out from his role in the nation’s greatest intersectional college football rivalry.