Willie McGinest: USC players shouldn’t wear No. 55 on offense

'USC is all about tradition," Willie McGinest said at USC's spring game on Saturday. 'To put (No. 55) on represents something.'

Stephen Dunn

LOS ANGELES — The No. 55 is a privilege at USC. Not just a privilege, but a defensive privilege.

Former USC All-American and three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest made that clear Saturday as he checked on his alma mater during their annual spring game.

McGinest was interviewed while standing on the sidelines during the game when the No. 55 was brought up. He explained that he was shocked an offensive player was wearing the number.

The number was issued to true freshman offensive guard Toa Lobendahn — an early enrollee who through the course of the spring has inserted himself into the first group on the offensive line.

Still, McGinest believes it’s a linebacker number.

The former Trojan had the number passed on to him from the late Junior Seau. He went on to wear the number for his entire USC career and throughout his NFL career as well.

"Junior is the godfather, to me, of that number and he is the reason I wore 55," McGinest said.

Following the spring game, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian was asked about the number as well as McGinest’s comments.

"It’s a great number and it’s a historical number," Sarkisian said. "A lot of great players have worn that number and hopefully as we move forward we continue to have great players to put that number on.

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"It’s a great deal of respect to guys like Junior and Willie and Chris Claiborne and Keith Rivers, all of those guys. A lot of great guys have worn it."