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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mailbag Monday: Will USC Get Matthew Thomas? Who Will Redshirt?

We’ve been fielding your questions for our Mailbag Monday feature, so let’s celebrate the start of the work week by getting right into the burning topics on USC Football, as editor Michael Castillo answers your questions.

Chevyn from Facebook asks: Is USC going to be able to land Matthew Thomas?

Michael: At this point, it looks like Florida State is going to hold firm and not release Thomas over fears of setting precedence. Though, there is a precedence of five-stars leaving before enrolling, with there being three notable cases of five-stars seeking releases of late. Seantrel Henderson was outright released by USC in 2010, as was Delvon Simmons from North Carolina in 2011. Chris Martin, who signed with Cal in 2010, wasn’t granted a release from Jeff Tedford and had to go through the typical NCAA transfer process, which saw him sit out a year before having eligibility at Florida. Right now, it looks like Thomas is going wind up going the way of Martin and get forced to sit out a year. Should that happen, expect a 60-40 chance that Thomas lands in Georgia over USC. He has family in the state of Georgia and it could be family compromise to play for the Bulldogs. But with as fluid as this story has been, it’s still anyone’s guess where he plays in 2013, 2014 or even 2015 for that matter.

Jon from Facebook asks: Of the new 13 new kids, how many are expected to redshirt?

Michael: Barring medical redshirts, the immediate one that comes to mind is Nico Falah. Not only does he likely need the extra year to fill out physically, but there isn’t a place on the depth chart for him to contribute to immediately. The same could be said for Khaliel Rodgers in terms of playing time, but expect him to compete at center and get some time there in camp, even with Marcus Martin, Max Tuerk and Cyrus Hobbi getting reps. Also, if Max Browne and Ty Isaac outright lose position battles in camp, it might beneficial for Lane Kiffin to redshirt them to save roster space for 2014 and beyond, especially Browne.

@retired728 from Twitter asks: How critical is the depth at DT?

Michael: I think it’s an overstated concern that is getting too much talk, to be perfectly honest. Leonard Williams, Antwaun Woods and George Uko return, Kenny Bigelow joins the fray, Cody Temple returns from an injury, as does J.R. Tavai. There’s going to be shuffling on the line, and even though there’s now three defensive tackle positions in the 5-2 scheme, Clancy Pendergast has some flexibility to move round guys if he needs to.

Brandon from Facebook asks: Is USC going to have another receiver shine to offset the pressure that Lee brings and help spread the field around more to open the offense up a bit?

Michael: They’re going to need to if they want to avoid being one-dimensional. Nelson Agholor is the obvious choice to replace Robert Woods, but don’t discount Darreus Rogers. He’s a prototypical split end that could very well be a Keary Colbert or Windrell Hayes-type possession receiver for the Trojans, which would compliment Marqise Lee nicely. Then there’s Steven Mitchell, who very much resembles Agholor, only smaller and perhaps more agile. He is probably your ideal slot receiver, though the Trojans typically utilize tight ends in the slot, as opposed to receivers.

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