Wrapping up the Fall Camp slate in good fashion, we have assembled a list of five of the top Trojan talents who have significantly boosted their stock. The grueling session of Fall Camp is officially over and the program can now shift their sights to game week, which culminates next Thursday with the season opener at Aloha Stadium.
NOTABLE PLAYERS WHO JUST MISSED THE CUT:
–RB Buck Allen (6-1, 215 RS So.)
–TE Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (6-4 255 So.)
-DL George Uko (6-3 275 Sr.)
Read more on four of USC’s top emerging talents from Fall Camp with in-depth pieces by clicking under the players’ linked name for more Reign of Troy coverage.
OL Chad Wheeler (6-foot-7, 290 pounds, RS Fr.)
Wheeler entered Fall Camp in tremendous shape, having adding on pounds of muscle to bulk up to a powerful 290 pounds. After competing with Kevin Graf for the first few days of practice at right guard, Wheeler emerged at the left tackle and has stayed for good. His progress has gained praise from Lane Kiffin throughout camp, and now Wheeler has emerged as the starting left tackle, sliding Max Tuerk down to left guard. With a unique skills set and tremendous work ethic, it will be interesting to see how Wheeler works alongside Tuerk for what could be a dominant left side of the left.
S Su’a Cravens (6-1, 215, Fr.)
Following a tremendous set of spring practices, as arguably the Trojans most highly touted prospect in 2013, Su’a Cravens has surpassed expectations early in Fall Camp with his play at strong safety. For a player who seems to have a tremendous nose for the football, Cravens’ biggest strength may be his ability to sneak past offensive lineman with a high safety blitz. Cravens caught the attention of his peers following a two-sack and five tackle performance in the Trojans’ second scrimmage, taking off at the position since returning healthy to the practice field last week.
WR Darreus Rogers (6-2, 210, Fr.) Mar 5, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans receiver Darreus Rogers (84) catches a pass at spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
After sitting out the entire 2012 season due to a hang up with the NCAA regarding his academic eligibility, freshman receiver Darreus Rogers has emerged on the scene as the Trojans’ go-to vertical playmaker. Rogers plays best when the football is in the air, instantly garnering trust with quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek from the first throws of Fall Camp. This camaraderie was best showcased during the Trojans second scrimmage when Rogers racked in 10 passes for 106 yards, including two touchdowns. Playing alongside the likes of Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor, the Trojans’ newest star could see numerous opportunities on third down as well as in the red zone with precise, stick ’em hands.
LB Quinton Powell (6-2, 220, Fr.)
The transition for freshman Quinton Powell has been rather intriguing, but at the end equally rewarding, for the new rising star in the Clancy Pendergrast’s 5-2 defensive alignment. Playing in a position completely new to him at WILL linebacker, the Florida native is making plays at a premium all over the field. His breakout performance came when Hayes Pullard was limited in practice, giving him valuable time with the first-team defense. The biggest compliment came from his head coach. “If you’re a true freshman and you’re functioning, you’re probably going to be a really good player someday,” Kiffin said.
FB Jahleel Pinner (5-11, 240, So.)For a position that desperately needed improvement on the Trojans roster from last season, Jahleel Pinner has certainly stepped up in the biggest way. Utilized as a nifty pass-catching back, Pinner has become a reliable option for sideline wheel routes and flat throws on quick and easy conversions. With Soma Vainuku sidelined for most of the workouts with an injury, Pinner carried the bulk of the workload at fullback and excelled in the expanded role. Trojan fans should hope that his continued development in the passing game, combined with rugged principles up the middle, could allow the Trojans to better utilize the position this season.
OLB Jabari Ruffin (6-3, 225 RS Fr.) The least talked out breakout contributor in Fall Camp was certainly Jabari Ruffin, the tooled outside linebacker with great pass-rushing technique. Emerging in the last two weeks to fill the sudden hole of Morgan Breslin on the Trojans defensive front, Ruffin immediately stepped in and made huge contributions from the opening snap. Battling against the aforementioned Wheeler and Graf on a daily basis, Ruffin presents a unique set of skills with his hands, an aspect of his game he maintains must improve. Expect the young athlete to continue garnering attention on defense, giving the starting offensive line every challenge.