Spring practice is officially in the books, 14 practices and a spring game now done and over with. So, over the next five days, we're going to take a look at the five Trojans who most stood out this spring, in alphabetical order. We start with safety T.J. McDonald:
McDonald was one of the steadiest players on the roster this spring, missing only one practice because of an injury. (And that was for a legitimate reason -- he had a tooth knocked out in a Coliseum scrimmage a couple weeks back and continued playing the rest of the day, then had to get the tooth dug out by doctors during the following week, forcing him to miss that Tuesday's session.
That toughness earned Lane Kiffin's praise. So did pretty much everything else McDonald did over the last month with the Trojans, starring in practice day in and day out and also taking on an additional role as a leader with a young defensive backs corps that will likely be incorporating two new starters come fall.
McDonald was responsible for probably a third of the Trojans' big collisions in spring, knocking back both Curtis McNeal and Dillon Baxter -- on separate days -- and drawing oohs and aahs from his defensive teammates on the sidelines. He also picked off a couple balls, scooping up a deflected pass on the day he returned from the tooth injury, among other big plays.
A good measure of McDonald's development this spring: three players accompanied the head referee at midfield of the Coliseum before Saturday's Spring Game for the ceremonial coin toss. They were redshirt senior nose tackle Christian Tupou, quarterback Matt Barkley and McDonald. He is a certifiable leader this spring and a probable captain this fall. Oh, and he was mysteriously wearing a 'C' patch on his jersey during Saturday's game.
McDonald is captain material, surely. Kiffin spotlighted him after Saturday's Spring Game and has done so a number of times over the past month, including proclaiming in the first week of the spring that McDonald took his game to the next level over the offseason.
That's good enough for us to accordingly proclaim him as one of the five Trojans who most stood out in spring.
That's it for today. Check back tomorrow for the writeup on another Trojan who shined in the spring, defensive end Nick Perry: