Weiner: Drake Dazzles with Short-Season POY Award

Posted on December 8, 2021

  By Matt Weiner, SportsPac12

Even with a quarter of a season missing from Drake London’s resume, he reeled in the Pac-12 Offensive player of the year award.

Frame this in the museum of records that defy logic and human capabilities next to Dimaggio’s 56-game hitting streak and Chamberlain’s 100 point game.

Despite never playing a single snap in November, Drake’s 88 receptions and 1,084 receiving yards were good enough to lead the Conference.

USC wide receiver Drake London vs Arizona. | Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The glory of his season is now remembered by what happened when he wasn’t on the field.

It’s no accident that the Trojans lost four-straight games to end the year after his injury on homecoming weekend against Arizona. Just like your best friends, you realize the impact of them when they are out of your life.

Saying London was there when you needed to dial something up on first-and-10, third-and-15 or in the red zone would be understating his value. Like saying fly fishing is just tomahawk chopping, a fishing rod with bait attached at the end of a line.

When the Trojans needed to eat up yards in early down situations due to an insufficient run game, London was there. There was this telepathic trust that any jump ball thrown his way could be hauled down no matter where he was on the field.

USC’s Drake London | Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was like a tip-off at half court between Shaq and Betty White. Defenders were begrudgingly the latter of course.

After the twister known as Clay Helton uprooted Trojan fans and launched them into a swirl of uncertainty and bitterness, London became a stable force to hold on to.

Which is how his season will be remembered. The teddy bear a child holds on to for dear life in the midst of an upending thunderstorm.

Before his injury you wouldn’t be senile to claim that he was the front runner for the Biletnikoff. He led the nation in targets (119) and contested catches (19), was second in receptions (88), and ranked third in yards (1,084).

USC’s Drake London vs Arizona | Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Now the “what if Drake London never got hurt” sits on the mantle of hypotheticals next to not hiring Coach Ed Orgeron.

One potential hypothetical from London’s season is surpassing Marqise Lee’s 1,721 receiving yards and 118 receptions when he won the same award in 2012. An incredible feat that seemed all-systems-go until October 30th.

London’s Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year award stands as evidence that not all of 2021 was a waste for USC, besides hiring Lincoln Riley.

—Recent Matt Weiner Stories—

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