With the news of Tre Madden’s injury coming out yesterday, coach Lane Kiffin stressed the importance of Madden today to the media following the team’s open practice at the Coliseum, and even addressed his contingency plan, which involves two incoming freshman, Nelson Agholor and Jahleel Pinner.
Kiffin said incoming freshman Nelson Agholor will get some looks at running back come fall. Jahleel Pinner might too.
— Michael Lev (@LevOnUSC) April 7, 2012
Let’s be honest, while Agholor’s long term projection might be a Percy Harvin-type wideout, the Trojans will be stacked at receiver come fall, with a presumably healthy Serra High trio consisting of Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and George Farmer, along with De’Von Flournoy, Victor Blackwell and an incoming freshman out of Carson, Darreus Rogers. Agholor was a sensational running back at Berkeley High in Tampa, finishing the 2011 season just 17 yards shy of 2,000, so giving him a shot at running back to help spell Curtis McNeal and D.J. Morgan is the right move for Lane Kiffin and Kennedy Polamalu.
While losing Tre Madden was a huge blow for the Trojans, when you look at the depth chart from the end of the season, having Madden help out at running back was a luxury, considering how buried he was at linebacker, how he was an experiment in the first place. That certainly doesn’t mean that losing Madden doesn’t hurt the Trojans, because it does, giving Kiffin just two serviceable running backs again, as was the case a month ago.
With Agholor, you can expect another back in the mold of D.J. Morgan, given his size and speed. Also, Kiffin is likely to use Agholor like the Trojans used George Farmer last season, with screens out of the backfield, to utilize his abilities as a receiver in open space. Madden was used like that in camp, a la Darren Sproles, but Agholor should be a more natural fit to the role, since that’s how he was used in high school, despite catching just 10 passes as a senior.
Agholor won’t be on campus until the Trojans open camp in early August, but it’s never a bad time to look back his highlight reel from this passed fall.