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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : USC : Preview Indicates Big Hits Are Coming

September 05, 1995|EARL GUSTKEY

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."

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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.

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