Given the current depth on the roster, a position that was not addressed in the 2014 class was running back. Barring injury or transfer, USC should begin the 2014 season with five scholarship running backs:
- Javorious Allen (redshirt junior)
- Justin Davis (sophomore)
- Ty Isaac (sophomore)
- Tre Madden (redshirt junior)
- D.J. Morgan (redshirt senior)
While that may seem like an exorbitant number, the Trojans were often down to just one or two running backs because of injuries throughout portions of last season.
What may have a positive influence on the various bumps and bruises the running backs absorbed in 2013 is Steve Sarkisian’s philosophy to feature one running back, as opposed to the committee approach.
However, by that same token, the Trojans have a collection of talented running backs and it would be a disappointment to see the talent rot away on the sideline; but that topic can be set aside for a different time.
The Trojans will most surely lose at least one running back after the season (Morgan) and either one of, or both, Allen and Madden to the 2015 NFL Draft.
Following up on tight ends to watch, here are class of 2015 running backs to keep an eye on:
1. Damien Harris (Berea, Ky./Madison Southern)
Rivals ranks Harris as the No. 1 running back in the 2015 class and No. 4 overall. Harris holds over 15 scholarship offers, including one from the Trojans.
Harris de-committed from Michigan in January, but is still considering the Wolverines. The 5-11, 205-pound running back rushed for over 2,500 yards en route to being named the 2013 Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year.
2. Austin Joyner (Marysville, Wash./Marysville-Pilchuck)
Joyner, a four-star running back according to Rivals, carried the ball 100 times in his junior season for 1,511 yards and 21 touchdowns.
The Trojans have yet to offer a scholarship to Joyner, who does hold offers from Colorado, Oregon State, Portland State, Washington and Washington State.
Joyner de-committed from Washington via his personal Twitter account on the day the school announced the hire of Chris Petersen.
3. RayRay McCloud III (Tampa, Fla./Sickles)
McCloud III has yet to receive a scholarship offer from the Trojans, but Rivals lists his interest in USC as “medium.”
In 2013, the 5-10 product carried the ball 300 times for 2,316 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns. He also added 173 receiving yards and one touchdown on 11 receptions.
Should McCloud III maintain his production, he will likely earn an offer from the Trojans
4. Jacques Patrick (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek)
Like McCloud III, Patrick also hails from the Sunshine State, which the Trojans have been known to recruit very well, but unlike him, Patrick has been offered a scholarship by the Trojans.
Comparatively speaking, Rivals ranks Patrick as the No. 3 running back and McCloudd III No. 10.
Patrick rushed for 2,153 yards and 30 touchdowns on 231 carries. He increased the total yards he ran for in his sophomore season when he had 2,032 on an identical 231 rush attempts.