March 11th marks the start of USC spring practice, a time when slates are swept clean and position battles begin anew. Steve Sarkisian and his new staff will get their first real look at the 2014 squad, which means Trojan fans also have a chance to start fresh evaluating the players who will make or break the new season.
This week at Reign Of Troy we’re taking a look at what to expect from each position group, now onto the wide receivers:
Seniors – Randall Telfer (RS)*
Juniors – Nelson Agholor, Victor Blackwell (RS), Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick*, George Farmer (RS)
Sophomores – Darreus Rogers
Freshmen – Steven Mitchell (RS)
Incoming – Bryce Dixon*, Ajene Harris, Rahshead Johnson, John “Juju” Smith
There are few positions as thin as wide receiver for the Trojans, even though there is plenty of talent to be found.
Nelson Agholor will surely step up as the top dog in the receiving corp with the departure of Marqise Lee. The big question for the unit is who will step into the number two spot.
Darreus Rogers, who started in place of Lee twice last season, is penciled in to take hold of the starting position in the spring but there should be competition from two players who saw none of the field in 2013.
Spring has never been kind to George Farmer, whose career has been derailed by a series of season-ending injuries. Still, he boasts such a high talent level that health-permitting he could be the break out player of 2014.
Steven Mitchell suffered his own season-ending injury last year and will similarly look to open some eyes this spring. In fact, when Steve Sarkisian was hired, many singled out Mitchell as one player who could thrive in the new offense.
Tight end is even thinner than receiver, so the spring will be much more focused on staying healthy than starting places. After all, there will only be two scholarship players competing. Until Bryce Dixon arrives in the fall, Randall Telfer will be the main man. For Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, spring could be the last chance he has to live up to expectations before younger talent pushes him out of the picture.
Most Likely To Keep Their Starting Job: Nelson Agholor
Most Likely To Lose Their Starting Job: Darreus Rogers
Battle To Watch: Split End
Most To Gain From Spring: Steven Mitchell
Most To Lose From Spring: George Farmer
More position previews: