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An early look at spring depth chart

As the Trojans begin bowl practice sessions for the Holiday Bowl against Wisconsin, here’s a look ahead at what the depth chart could look like when USC opens spring ball sessions next March (with schemes in place right now, this could change depending on coordinators and new alignments):

Offense

QB

Projected starter: Max Browne

Reserves: Sam Darnold, Matt Fink*

—- This is going to be one of the more high-profile position battles in the country and Browne will get first shot but Darnold will get every opportunity during spring.

RB

Projected starter: Justin Davis

Reserves: Ronald Jones, Aca’Cedric Ware, Dominic Davis

—- Davis will head into spring as the starter based on his veteran status but it is clearly a 1-2 punch with him and Jones.

WR

Projected starter: JuJu Smith-Schuster

Reserves: De’Quan Hampton, Josh Imatorbhebhe*

WR

Projected starter: Darreus Rogers

Reserves: Isaac Whitney, Michael Pittman*

WR

Projected starter: Steven Mitchell

Reserves: Jalen Greene, Deontay Burnett, Ajene Harris

—- The starters are set at the three receiver spots but there could be a lot of jockeying for position among the reserves, and that will include Adoree’ Jackson in a limited role.

TE

Projected starter: Taylor McNamara

Reserves: Tyler Petite, Daniel Imatorbhebhe

—- This could end up being a competitive position battle. McNamara was the starter last year but Petite should benefit this off-season in his first full year in the USC strength program, it will be interesting to see where they are come spring.

LT

Projected starter: Chad Wheeler

Reserves: Roy Hemsley, Clayton Johnston, Nathan Smith*

LG

Projected starter: Damien Mama

Reserves: Chris Brown

C

Projected starter: Khaliel Rodgers

Reserves: Cole Smith

RG

Projected starter: Viane Talamaivao

Reserves: Nico Falah

RT

Projected starter: Zach Banner

Reserves: Chuma Edoga, Jordan Austin

—- As of this writing it’s assumed that Toa Lobendahn will still be rehabbing his knee during spring and will not take part, otherwise he could be penciled in as the starting center.

Defense

DT

Projected starter: Kenny Bigelow

Reserves: Jordan Simmons, Kevin Scott

NT

Projected starter: Noah Jefferson

Reserves: Jacob Daniel

DE

Projected starter: Rasheem Green

Reserves: Malik Dorton, Christian Rector

—- Things could be very fluid along the line in spring as all three starting spots are open for grabs and the coaches will be looking to find the best combination of players to work together.

SLB

Projected starter: Uchenna Nwosu

Reserves: Quinton Powell, John Houston

MLB

Projected starter: Cameron Smith

Reserves: Michael Hutchings

WLB

Projected starter: Olajuwon Tucker

Reserves: Osa Masina

Rush end

Projected starter: Scott Felix

Reserves: Porter Gustin, Don Hill, Jabari Ruffin, Liam Jimmons*

—- Nwosu looks to be the favorite to take over for Cravens but the competition to replace Sarao could be tight with Tucker and Masina battling in spring.

CB

Projected starter: Adoree’ Jackson

Reserves: Jonathan Lockett

CB

Projected starter: Iman Marshall

Reserves: Isaiah Langley

FS

Projected starter: Chris Hawkins

Reserves: Leon McQuay, Ykili Ross

SS

Projected starter: John Plattenburg

Reserves: Marvell Tell, C.J. Pollard*

—- While the pecking order is set at corner, it will be fun to watch things at safety in spring with so many talented players competing for time. Keep an eye on Ross, he was a redshirt last year who is ready to see the field.

Special teams

Punter

Projected starter: Chris Tilbey

Reserves: Reid Budrovich

Placekicker

Projected starter: Matt Boermeester

Reserves: Wyatt Schmidt

Long snapper

Projected starter: Zach Smith

Reserves: Jake Olson

—- Tilbey and Boermeester are both on scholarship, which makes them the favorites to be starters.

* = 2015 spring enrollee



Garry Paskwietz
Author
Garry Paskwietz

A 1988 graduate of USC with a degree in Sports Information. Worked in sports marketing for LA Lakers and Miller Brewing Company. Began covering the Trojans in 1996 with the Trojan Football Fax. Founded WeAreSC in November 1998 with stints at Scout and ESPN. Emmy-winner while covering high school football at Fox Sports West.


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