Nelson Agholor emerged from a promising freshman season with big expectations in 2013 and continued his growth as a full-time starter. He was honored on the All-Pac-12 second team as a return specialist and honorable mention as a wide receiver.
By the numbers: 56 receptions, 918 yards and 6 touchdowns
What went right: The USC offense was a work in progress for most of the season, but Agholor was one of the rare constants. He battled through injury to nearly triple his receiving totals from last season and led the Trojans in receiving yards and touchdowns. His special teams work against Notre Dame set USC up in great field position and gave the struggling offense the spark of life. He single-handedly put Cal away with two punt return touchdowns then put up big numbers against Stanford with eight catches for 104 yards. His speed and agility helped make up for the injuries which hampered Marqise Lee and provided USC with a big play threat through the air in Lee’s absence.
What went wrong: Agholor was good, but not great for most of the season. He logged just two 100-yard games and his failure to catch a touchdown in any of USC’s losses is telling. Of greater concern, Agholor was never able to rid himself of his butter finger tendencies. Several of his more exciting touchdown catches this year featured heart-stopping bobbles and it was his inability to secure the ball on a key fourth down against Notre Dame which sealed the defeat. Explosive as he is receiving punts, he also was a danger for muffing them. Unfortunately for Agholor, the comparisons to his counterpart are unavoidable. Where Lee was already a star as a sophomore, Agholor is still a work in progress.
What’s next: Agholor will be back with the Trojans for his junior season next year. He was called upon to be USC’s primary receiving option while Lee was slowed by injury and he will have to fill that role full-time if Lee decides to leave for the NFL in 2014. The good news is that Agholor has shown steady improvement since he arrived at USC and there’s no reason to doubt he that progress won’t continue going into next season. In Steve Sarkisian’s uptempo offense, he should see many more targets and have many more opportunities to become a nationally-acclaimed impact player.
Final Grade: B+
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