USC is less than a week away from the start of spring practice on March 11. Unfortunately, more than a few key players will not be ready to take the field with their teammates on Tuesday afternoon.
Returning starters defensive lineman Leonard Williams, linebacker Lamar Dawson and offensive lineman Aundrey Walker will all miss out on spring practices.
While Williams’ starting place is all but assured, the two others are missing valuable time which could be the difference between holding onto their starting status and losing it.
Dawson will be battling Anthony Sarao and upstart Michael Hutchings for the starting WILL linebacker spot. Sarao especially could throw a wrench in Dawsons senior year aspirations.
Walker is a physical specimen but subpar performances have put him on the hot seat in terms of starting. The ankle injury which ended his season in 2013 could also open the door for players like Jordan Simmons, Zach Banner and Nico Falah.
Unfortunately for Simmons and Banner, both are also battling injury problems as spring begins. Simmons will likely miss most of spring practice while Banner will be limited.
Another key battle impacted by injuries is running back. Justin Davis will miss the spring, giving Buck Allen and Tre Madden a leg up in the competition. Senior D.J. Morgan will also sit out, so any chance of him breaking into the picture early are pretty much dashed.
Wide out Steven Mitchell has been singled out as a potential break out star in Steve Sarkisian’s new offense. Unfortunately, the injury which held him out in 2013 will also limit him in spring.
In the secondary, Devian Shelton’s limited participation due to injury will give Chris Hawkins and Anthony Brown more chances to lock into the cornerback spot opposite Kevon Seymour.
At tight end, Randall Telfer will be hindered by his 2013 injury as well, which means Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick will get the bulk of the snaps. He has a chance to establish his place before the arrival of Bryce Dixon.
DL Leonard Williams
DL Don Hill
DL Cody Temple
LB Lamar Dawson
TE Randall Telfer
TE Shane Sullivan
OL Aundrey Walker
OL Jordan Simmons
RB Justin Davis
RB D.J. Morgan
RB Taylor Ross
WR Robby Kolanz
DL Greg Townsend Jr
OL Zach Banner
WR Steven Mitchell
S Gerald Bowman
CB Devian Shelton