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USC's NFL pipeline stays open on second day

PRO FOOTBALL

Six more Trojans are drafted on Sunday, giving USC a total of 11 selections, more than any other school in the nation.

April 27, 2009|Gary Klein

USC has not won a national title since 2004, but the Trojans finished No. 1 for the second consecutive year in terms of the NFL draft.

With six players selected Sunday, USC upped its total to 11, more than any other program.

"It was a great two days for the guys," Coach Pete Carroll said. "It's an awesome representation of how hard they work."

In 2008, the Trojans had a national-best 10 players selected, four in the first round.

On Saturday, three Trojans were first-round picks: Quarterback Mark Sanchez was taken fifth by the New York Jets, linebacker Brian Cushing 15th by the Houston Texans and linebacker Clay Matthews 26th by the Green Bay Packers. In the second round, linebacker Rey Maualuga went to the Cincinnati Bengals, and defensive tackle Fili Moala to the Indianapolis Colts.

Receiver Patrick Turner was the first Trojan off the board Sunday when the Miami Dolphins took him in the third round.

The Cleveland Browns chose linebacker Kaluka Maiava and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took defensive end Kyle Moore in the fourth round.

"I'm excited," said Moore, a Georgia native. "It's only a few-hour drive for my mom and dad to come down and see me play. It worked out perfectly for me."

Kicker David Buehler was taken in the fifth round by the Dallas Cowboys.

He is the first USC kicker to be drafted since Cole Ford was chosen in the seventh round in 1995.

"[Cowboys Coach] Wade Phillips said, 'Field position is real important to us and we're looking to you to contribute right away,' " Buehler said.

Cornerback Cary Harris and safety Kevin Ellison were sixth-round picks by the Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers, respectively.

Carroll said his only disappointment regarding the draft was Maualuga's slide into the second round.

"Rey's a little disappointed but he understands he still has to go make this team and show them what kind of player he really is," Carroll said.

Ohio State, South Carolina and Oregon State, which handed USC its only loss last season, each had seven players drafted.

The Southeastern Conference had 37 players selected, the Atlantic Coast 33, the Pac 10 Conference 32, the Big 12 and the Big Ten 28 apiece, and the Big East 27.

So more than a third of the players drafted out of the Pac-10 came from USC.

No UCLA players were drafted, the first time since 1997 and only the second time since 1963 that no Bruins were selected.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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