October 4, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Southern California Trojans safety Jawanza Starling (29) breaks up a pass intended for Utah Utes wide receiver Kenneth Scott (2) during the first half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

USC 2012 Evaluations: S Jawanza Starling

Stat:: 13 games played, 42 tackles (24 solo, 18 assisted), 3 INTs, 4 passes broken up

What Stood Out: If there is one thing Jawanza Starling has amde a name for himself in, its being in the right place at the right time. Last season, it was his recovery of a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown against Notre Dame that breathed new life into the Trojans against the Fighting Irish. In 2012 against Utah, he broke up a pass right at the goal line that would have certainly been a touchdown for the Utes, and his pick against Stanford that he returned for 34 yards helped keep the Trojans afloat against the Cardinal to a point.

What Needed Work: Starling is a solid tackler and has improved significantly from last season, but the spotlight rarely turned his way because his big moments in 2012 were scarce. With less than 50 tackles as the starter, Starling was out shined by the players around him, namely T.J. McDonald. Some of his struggles can be attributed to the system he was in, as he was used more in coverage in 2012 and less against the run, where he had so much success in his breakout year in 2011.

Final Word: Starling came into the season much improved from his from his form as a first-year starter back in 2010. Though his big 2011 prepared him well for 2012, at the end of the day, he wasn’t a standout in 2012 as expected, with a lot of that falling in the hands of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

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