Trojans pick 2011 captains

Quarterback Matt Barkley was named a USC captain for the second straight season Sunday, joined by tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison, defensive tackle Christian Tupou and safety T.J. McDonald to form the Trojans' set of four.

Barkley and McDonald are juniors; Ellison and Tupou are seniors. The captains were chosen by a vote of the entire roster of more than 100 Trojans.

"I kinda saw it coming, but it's an honor nonetheless," Barkley said. "I'm proud to lead these guys into battle and I know I have their respect and I'm playing for them and not for me.

"It's fun to have Rhett and T.J. and Tupou there too, guys who I look up to."

A year ago, in coach Lane Kiffin's first year with the team, the Trojans had five captains: Barkley, senior fullback Stanley Havili and senior defenders Shareece Wright, Malcolm Smith and Michael Morgan.

The four players this year will be asked to lead the team off the field and on it, meeting the opposition's captains at midfield for the coin toss each game.

"It's awesome," Ellison said. "I'm just excited that the team put me there, in that position.

"I just try to lead by example -- effort and stuff like that, and help guys out on the sidelines just to get their heads right."