Zachariah Branch Named First Team All-American

USC freshman Zachariah Branch has been named a First Team All-American.

Branch is USC's first-ever true freshman First Team All-American. USC now has 176 First Team All-Americans.

Branch was named to the USA Today All-American First Team as a returner.

Additionally, he was named a Sports Illustrated Second Team All-American as a kick returner, a CBS Sports Honorable Mention All-American as a wide receiver/punt returner, a College Football News Honorable Mention Freshman All-American as a wide receiver, the College Football Network Freshman Specialist of the Year as a punt returner and a College Football Network Freshman All-American.

Branch, a freshman superstar, recorded 29 receptions for 311 yards and 2 TDs during the 2023 season. He also rushed for 70 yards on 8 carries with 1 TD.

He is also one of the nation's most electric returners. Against Stanford on Sept. 9, he returned a punt for a 75-yard TD in the second quarter. He also had a 96-yard kickoff return for a TD vs. San Jose State on Aug. 26. He is the first Trojan since Adoree' Jackson in 2016 to have a punt return and kickoff return for a TD, as well as at least one receiving TD in the same season. Jackson had 2 punt returns and 2 kickoff returns for TDs and 1 TD reception during the 2016 season.

Since 1971 (when records are available) Branch is one of just 3 USC players to accomplish the feat, joining Jackson and Curtis Conway (1992 – 1 kickoff return TD, 1 punt return TD, 5 rec TDs).

Branch finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation in punt returns (20.6), No. 2 in the nation in combined kick returns (751) and punt return TDs (1) and No. 6 in the nation in kickoff return TDs (1).


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