Tailback D.J. Morgan also expects to be available despite missing Friday’s workout because of turf toe. Morgan watched the throwing session with a boot on his right foot. He suffered the injury while running the steps during a recent team workout at the Coliseum.
Even with Kennard, a part-time starter over the last three years at end and linebacker, the defensive line stood out like a big, vulnerable thumb on the Trojans’ otherwise imposing depth chart, thanks to the graduation of tackles DaJohn Harris and Christian Tupou and the early departure of All-Pac-12 end Nick Perry for the first round of the NFL Draft. On a roster just beginning to feel the crunch from NCAA-imposed scholarship restrictions, the front four rivaled tailback as the most pressing concern, and may have just surpassed it.
Horton and Kennard are the lone seniors among USC’s 13 scholarship defensive linemen. Between them, they have 40 career starts. The rest of the defensive line has two, both by tackle George Uko during his redshirt-freshman season last year. So Horton is feeling a strong compulsion to coach up the kids. The better they play, the better the Trojans’ chances to achieve their championship goals. “I just feel like everyone’s looking at the D-line as a big question mark,” Horton said. “I don’t want that to be a question mark.”
Further, the underrated McNeal, who averaged 6.9 yards per carry in 2011, has a history with injuries. So Redd not only offers a 1-B in the backfield, he offers an an insurance policy. An added bonus with Redd aboard would be touted incoming freshman Nelson Agholor being able to stay at his best position — receiver — rather than switching to running back. Redd would be a huge get for the Trojans, one that addresses a need area with a proven, ready-to-suit-up star.
The Trojans flexed their national recruiting muscle by landing one of the best players in Kentucky when four-star defensive end Jason Hatcher from Louisville (Ky.) Trinity decided to join an already impressive class that is currently ranked No.1 in the country. “I’m going to the University of Southern California,” Hatcher said. “USC seemed like the perfect fit, but I just had to talk it with my family. I sat down and talked with USC coaches some more and realized it was a fit.