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Having been given Mike Garrett’s retired number #20, Darnell Bing has had huge shoes to fill. When he’s been on the field, he has lived up to those expectations. As a freshman in 2003, Bing made 69 tackles and picked off 2 passes on his way to being named to virtually every Freshman All-American list around. As a sophomore, he was dinged up a bit all year, but still managed to produce 63 tackles, 8 for loss, and 2 interceptions. In 2004, Bing was asked to play more of a deep coverage role, but still managed to bring down 50 ball carriers, 2.5 of them behind the line of scrimmage, to go along with four interceptions. An injury to running back Desmond Reed got Bing onto the kick return unit, and he averaged 28.6 yards per kick return.
Darnell Bing was awarded the Thorpe Award. He was also an All-American candidate.
Bing, the veteran of USC's defense, started for his third season at strong safety as a junior in 2005. He is on the 2005 Lott Trophy and Bednarik Award watch lists. He had surgery to repair a dislocating shoulder prior to 2005 spring practice and missed spring drills.
You could not dream up a better physical specimen at safety. Bing has excellent size, is strong, athletic, and fast. On the field, Bing plays with a lot of aggression. He excels at attacking the line and stuffing the run. He hits like a linebacker, and makes you think twice about crossing the middle. Darnell also shows the athleticism and speed to play in coverage. Bing may not have amazing statistics, but his impact is much greater than they lead you to believe. He also brings value on special teams, as he displayed very good kickoff return skills this season.
The biggest problem with Darnell Bing has been staying healthy. He has been consistently banged up during his time at USC. He has had multiple shoulder and leg injuries, and has had troubles with his hip this season. When healthy, he is an impact performer. But he has played quite a bit at less than 100% and it has left him vulnerable in deep coverage.
Physically and based on his play when healthy, Darnell Bing has the ability to be a rare Top 15 pick as a safety. The problem has been staying healthy though, and that is going to hurt Bing come draft day. He should rank as the top true safety on most teams boards this year. He has the talent to be a pro bowler some day, and his potential will likely land him somewhere near the end of the first, or early second round.
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