Pro Day indicative of healthy USC program

The campus was abuzz. A hoard of agents, reporters, photographers, NFL scouts and coaches formed a ring around the field. Friends and family gathered in the stands. Hundreds of students, teachers and passersby stopped to watch.

Former USC football players showcased their skills to NFL personnel Wednesday, hoping to increase their chances of getting drafted later this month.

That’s right. On one of the hottest days of the semester, the hottest place to be was Cromwell Field, watching players many people will only ever see on TV. Rarely is the entire USC community pulled together by one gravitational event on campus, but Wednesday’s Pro Day happened to be one of those days.

It was a sight fill any Trojan with a sense of pride, and also served to challenge those who had written off USC. Football is alive and well in Southern California, and Pro Day is still a big deal around here.

Only a few schools in the country can annually attract large crowd for Pro Day, and USC is still one of those schools. Yes, there were probably a dozen schools this year with a larger turnouts during their Pro Days, but often it was to see an exception, one player with extremely huge potential.

USC does have a player who many scouts were focusing on in offensive tackle Tyron Smith. Smith was the reason Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett came out Wednesday, and he didn’t disappoint.

But Smith is an offensive lineman, which isn’t one of those sexy, glamorous positions that make people like Paris Hilton, Gisele Bundchen and Kendra Wilkinson flock to the sport. Smith isn’t the reason everyone who walked by Cromwell stopped and watched for minutes or hours. Just the mere thought of USC Pro Day was enough for hundreds of people to check it out.

It also was enough for superagent Drew Rosenhaus. There are few agents in the world whose name carries more weight than Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus is the Swackhammer of football. Much like the Monstars boss represented every player on Moron Mountain, Rosenhaus monopolizes the best NFL players on this planet. So if Rosenhaus shows up somewhere, you know it’s a big deal.

But attendance wasn’t just limited to a few notable faces. Thirty-one of the 32 NFL teams were represented at Pro Day, which is a sign the program is healthy. Among them were three general managers, Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson and Minnesota Vikings linebackers coach Mike Singletary.

The fact that all these people came to USC shows the Trojans still have a lot of options to offer teams.

In addition to Smith was fellow offensive lineman Kristofer O’Dowd, wide receiver Ronald Johnson, tight ends Jordan Cameron and David Ausberry, running backs C.J. Gable and Allen Bradford, defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, linebacker Malcolm Smith and quarterback Mitch Mustain. That’s more variety than you’ll find in the periodic table. Heck, you might be able to fill a team to compete with Brett Favre and the Wranglers in a swampy field in Mississippi.

So even though there wasn’t a star working out on Cromwell Wednesday such as Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Taylor Mays or Rey Malauga, that didn’t stop Pro Day from being the spectacle that it always is at USC.

And I think that’s one spectacle athletic director Pat Haden wouldn’t mind keeping around.

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