There was an unprecedented event at USC's football practice Monday.
Powerful, 225-pound junior running back Shawn Walters caught a short pass and was knocked into the air by a chest-high tackle, landing flat on his back.
The hitter was freshman safety Rashard Cook, whose big hits have been a highlights of USC's preseason work.
"Rashard has something you can't teach, the ability to strike," said secondary coach Dennis Thurman.
"He's a tough, physical player, and he hits as hard as anyone we have. He's like a guard dog puppy who bites you when he's just a few days old. All he needs is experience, to learn how to play."
If Walters leads USC in rushing this season, he'll become the first since Charles White (1977-79) to lead the Trojans three consecutive seasons.
In two seasons, Walters has gained 1,687 yards, a 4.8-yard average. If he reaches 339 yards this season, he'll become one of USC's career top 10 rushers.