In Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, the Trojans have the best receiver tandem in the nation. In order to make a run at the Pac-12 and National titles, there needs to be a few other Trojan receivers that step up. After Woods and Lee there is a bunch of talent but it is not yet clear who will step up to take the pressure off of them.
George Farmer is the player that most people expect to have a breakout year in 2012. He spent most of the 2011 season either hurt or playing running back. Farmer begin to show his ability in spring after moving back to his more natural position of wide receiver but again got hurt and missed most of spring. It is important to note that Farmer and Lee were high school teammates and it is Farmer who was the top ranked receiver coming out of high school.
At 6′ 1″, 205 lbs, Farmer is a big target for Matt Barkley and with his 4.4 speed he should be able to create match-up problems with safeties and linebackers down the seam. It is expected that Lane Kiffin will utilize more three receiver sets this year to take advantage of Barkley’s ability to spread the ball around and push it downfield. If Farmer can show why he was the top receiver in the nation and the number three overall recruit in the 2011 class, defenses are going to have nightmares all season.
Victor Blackwell is coming off of a redshirt year and could also be in the mix for the 3rd receiver spot. At 6′ 1″, 190 lbs and 4.4 speed, here is another lighting bolt with great hands to add to Barkley’s collection of toys. After a year in the Trojan system and Blackwell’s familiarity with Barkley from their days at Mater Dei, he could see some balls going his way when on the field. The battle for the 3rd receiver spot should come down to Blackwell and Farmer based on their talent level.
Nelson Agholor and Darreus Rogers could very well challenge for some playing time as true freshman. Agholor is an outstanding athlete, runs great routes, and has excellent body control. He isn’t as fast as the previously mentioned receivers but has excellent quickness. Rogers has been described as a shorter Mike Williams which is to say that he is much more physical than he is fast.
The challenge for both players will be getting acclimated to the offense. It may be difficult for their physical talents to shine through while still digesting the playbook. If Farmer and Blackwell are able to put it together, this could very well be a redshirt year for one or both these young players.
Fourth-year junior De’Von Flournoy is a long shot to get in the mix at this point. He has yet to catch a pass in a game but should have a leg up on Agholor and Rogers while they are learning the offense. Fall camp will be his opportunity to make his mark. Flournoy is a talented receiver but is playing an extremely crowded position filled with extremely talented players. It will be tough for him to challenge for significant playing time and most likely he will wind up fifth in the rotation.
While there are some question marks in regards to where each player will land in the rotation, there is no question that the Trojans have a talented collection of receivers. This group could very well be the best receiving corp in the country. It will be fun to see Barkley slinging the pigskin all over the field to this bunch and watching them turn a 10-yard slant into an 80-yard touchdown.