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 safeties:
Seniors – Gerald Bowman (RS), Josh Shaw (RS)
Juniors – N/A
Sophomores – Su’a Cravens, Leon McQuay III
Freshmen – N/A
Incoming – Uchenna Nwosu
Su’a Cravens is as much of a shoe-in for maintaining his starting position as any player on the Trojan roster. The gifted safety started all but one game in his freshman season, sitting out against Oregon State because of injury. He earned near-unanimous freshman All-American honors in the process.
With the strong safety position locked up, the competition for free safety will fall to two players who are looking to prove themselves in different ways.
Josh Shaw has been the consummate pro throughout his Trojan career, doing whatever he’s been asked for the sake of the team, including playing out of position more often than he’s played in his natural place. Unfortunately for him, having a chance at becoming a pro of the NFL variety means he needs to show scouts what he’s made of as a safety.
Steve Sarkisian has given no indication as to whether Shaw will go into spring practice primarily as a cornerback or safety, so it is safe to say he could end up in either spot depending on the competition around him.
At free safety, his competition is Leon McQuay III.
As decorated as a player can be coming out of high school, McQuay boasts all the potential in the world and his push to join Cravens, who arrived in the same recruiting class and found success right away, should be a strong one.
Standing just outside the main picture is Gerald Bowman. He was granted a medical redshirt in 2013 and while it is unlikely he’ll sniff a starting place, he will be looking to prove himself as a valuable back up when he returns from his shoulder injury.
Most Likely To Keep Their Starting Job: Su’a Cravens
Most To Gain From Spring: Leon McQuay
Most To Lose From Spring: Josh Shaw
More position previews: