Phil Steele’s annual preseason All-American list is out, and Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and T.J. McDonald represent USC on the first team.
Barkley and Woods are not a surprise given their All-American status at the end of 2011, and T.J. McDonald’s accolades are sort of expected at this point. Both Barkley and McDonald have something to prove as returning seniors, and with all of the experience surrounding them, including 10 starters on both offense and defense, All-American years for USC’s number sevens are not out of the question.
While Barkley will battle with the likes of Oklahoma’s Landry Jones in the BCS Title race, Heisman Trophy race, 2013 NFL Draft and for first team on a slew of All-American lists, McDonald will have to out-perform Tyrann Mathieu of LSU if he wants to win the Thorpe Award.
At receiver, Robert Woods’ biggest competition in terms being an All-American or winning the Biletnikoff Award is fellow Trojan Marqise Lee, who was shockingly left off of Phil Steele’s list of preseason All-Americans. Woods’ company on the first team was none other than Marquess Wilson of Washington State, who is well deserving, but Steele didn’t place Lee on his second, third or fourth team All-Americans either, creating a real head scratcher.
Other Trojans on the list include Khaled Holmes who is the second team center, and Nickell Robey, who resides on the fourth team. UCLA had just one mention, their heavily used punter, Jeff Locke.