Apr 13, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of a Nike football with the Southern California Trojans logo on the field during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin released the 2013 spring depth chart on Monday, after the conclusion of spring camp.
We have already examined the offensive portion of the depth chart, so let’s turn our attention to the defensive side. Unlike the offense, the defensive starters are a lot more predictable and consistent. With the exception being at cornerback however, where things are constantly fluctuating due to injuries and lack of experience.
That said, here is the 2013 Spring Depth Cart for the defense:
KEY:Projected 2013 starters in bold“OR” indicates co-startersFall 2013 enrollees listed alphabetically in (parentheses)“#” indicates the coaches could not evaluate that player during the spring“*” indicates players that missed a significant part of 2013 spring campCAPS indicates returning 2012 starters“^” indicates co-starters in 2012
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERDevon KennardJabari RuffinMarquis Simmons
DEFENSIVE ENDLEONARD WILLIAMSJ.R. TavaiMichael ArakelianJeff Miller#
NOSE TACKLEAntwaun Woods ORCody TempleKenny BigelowYonatan Aviv
DEFENSIVE ENDGEORGE UKOCharles BurksGreg Townsend Jr.#
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERMORGAN BRESLINKevin Greene(Quinton Powell)
MIKE LINEBACKERHAYES PULLARDWill AndrewJulian Coleman(Michael Hutchings)
WILL LINEBACKERLAMAR DAWSON ORAnthony SaraoKyle YatabeNick SchlossbergScott Starr#
CORNERBACKAnthony BrownDevian Shelton ORChris Hawkins
FREE SAFETYDemetrius Wright ORLeon McQuay IIIJohn AuranGerald Bowman#
STRONG SAFETYJOSH SHAW ORSu’a Cravens*Rob DooleyDION BAILEY#
CORNERBACKTorin Harris ORKevon SeymourRyan Henderson ORRyan Dillard
Things to note:
Dion Bailey is listed at strong safety, which means he has officially made the move back to his native position. He missed all of spring practice to have shoulder surgery, and it’s possible he will have to compete with Josh Shaw or Su’a Cravens for the starting spot. Given Bailey’s experience however, a serious competition at this spot is highly unlikely.
Anthony Sarao and Lamar Dawson are listed as co-starters at the will linebacker position, which is interesting because Kiffin has lauded Dawson’s improvement all spring and had even named him a practice MVP, while saying little about how Sarao has quietly climbed up the rankings. Dawson has yet to impress during games in his time at Troy, and if Sarao can get an edge on him in the fall, Dawson’s starting days could be in jeopardy.
Lastly, Kiffin lists Torin Harris as a starter at corner again, which speaks to the fact the USC is–and continues to be–incredibly limited at that position. Harris has repeatedly underwhelmed in two seasons, without indicating that he can perform at a higher level. But there’s no proven talent behind him either, so the Trojans are once again stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to fielding a strong pair of cornerbacks.
Fortunately, the Trojans don’t have to suit up for another August, and by then, a number of currently-injured athletes will be back and ready to train in fall camp. USC can really solidify its defense at that time, and we will have a better understand of what we can expect from the 2013 Trojans once that happens.