Is Pat Haden Right About Leonard Williams?

Photo/Joe Andras

Photo/Joe Andras

Pat Haden’s provocative comment on twitter that Leonard Williams is one of the top five USC players in the past 40 years makes for a good debate. It is really hard to compare offensive/defensive linemen to skill players.

Here are some names off the top of my head from the past 40 years: Junior Seau, Reggie Bush, Charles White, Marcus Allen, Chris Claiborne, Brad Budde, Ronnie Lott, Marqise Lee, Mike Williams, Robert Woods, Matt Kalil. Are they better or worse than Williams? Who did I leave off?

Williams has 63 tackles with three games left. It’s a different era, but nose guard George Achica had 120 tackles in 1981. A player I should include above because he was one of my favorites, linebacker Chip Banks, had 137 tackles and four interceptions in the same season.

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  • Trojan Hoarse

    Tony Boselli…….Anthony Munoz…..

  • Walt Hazzard

    Ricky Bell

    • Trojan Hoarse

      Good call….

      • ProbationU

        Ricky Bell was a warrior. Tough guy to bring down. Wore everybody out. What a tragedy.

  • The Capper

    Scott, move’n away from the TMZ approach to journalism and finally talk’n football. Love it!

    How about: OJ Simpson, Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer, Lynn Swann, Rodney Peete

    • gotroy22

      OJ was playing for the Bills 40 years ago.

  • Walt Hazzard

    Sam Cunningham, Anthony Davis, Mosi Tatupu,
    Don Mosebar and, Dennis Thurman

    • ProbationU

      I played high school basketball with Thurman. Love him, but not in the top 5. Ronnie Lott certainly. I remember the time SC had Ronnie Lott and Dennis Smith and UCLA had Kenny Easley. The safeties ruled LA..great time.

      • Cheap seats

        Ronnie Lott, Dennis Smith, and Joey Browner almost joined by recruit…Marcus Allen.

  • CardinalnGold

    Is he basing his statement about Williams on his college impact or potential NFL impact. The kid is a heck of a player and could end up being in the NFL hall of fame but I don’t think he’s a top 5 college level Trojan.

    • marvgoux1

      BMW had much more impact than Leonard, no knock on Leonard.

  • anno nimus

    I hate USC, but I have to admit, Leonard Williams is one bad-ass defensive player, not since Richard Wood do I remember a USC defender making an impact in a game, he’s got size speed, and a motor that doesn’t stop. Go Bruins!!!!!

    • Independent_George

      He is the one of the best DLs ever, better than two-time Pac-10 DPOY Sedrick Ellis, better than Mike Patterson, Shaun Cody, Tim Ryan, and, yes, George Achica. He single-handedly requires OCs to game plan around him, takes pressure off Kennard and Breslin/Tavai, frees up Pullard and Sarao to have double-digit tackles in a game, and makes everyone in the front better with his presence.

    • rusoviet

      Richard ‘Batman’ Wood was in my dorm – good ole and long gone ‘Touton Hall on West 35th & McClintock – heck they even got rid of the memorial plinth that was there until about 4 years ago.

  • B.Miller

    one word..


  • ScottWolfSniffsHisOwnFarts

    The Ting Brothers…

  • gotroy22

    Leonard Williams would do well to equal Pat Haden’s
    fellow teammate defensive lineman Gary Jeter, who started 4 years, played on a national champion, was an All American, top five pick in the NFL draft and successful pro player on the Jets and Rams.

  • john wolcott

    Apples and oranges– players 30 or 40 years ago were not as big or strong, so today’s guys are definitely better

  • Mike 70

    Hey Bucket? Let’s hear your roster of great players…oh that right, sorry I asked.

  • Wop

    Chauncey Washington??? Top 5 all-time

  • sureshot32

    I had a list of about a dozen guys that were better when you first posted about this, Scooter. It’s not that I don’t think Williams is great, it’s just that he’s played here less than two years and USC has had some ridiculously good players in the past 40 years. Guys like Marcus Allen, Ronnie Lott, and yes, even Reggie Bush.

    Let’s wait until Leonard Williams uses up his eligibility (or more likely, leaves after his junior year) before we go around proclaiming him as a Top 5 Trojan.

  • steveg

    Lots of comparisons can be made and different players get brought up depending upon your age. Haden has an opinion, that’s all it is. He gets to see him up close and has seen many up close. I am sure we could argue about this into infinity.

  • 77 Trojan

    T. Polamalu, Keyshawn J., Bruce Matthews & Don Mosebar. I think Wolf meant Ryan Kalil and not Matt.