With the arrival of the offseason comes the annual process of replacing key departures. In the case of the 2015 USC Trojans, finding a player to lessen the impact of Nelson Agholor’s decision to enter the 2015 NFL draft is essential.
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announced his departure
in early January after three seasons at USC. During his time with the Trojans, Agholor racked up 179 catches for 2,571 yards and 20 touchdowns, along with four punt return touchdowns.
Coming up in the shadow of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee as a freshman, Agholor took on the mantle of his predecessors as his career progressed. When Woods left for the NFL in 2013, Agholor even out did the production of the often-injured Lee.
As the Trojans main receiving option on 2014, Agholor put his name third on USC’s single-season reception list with 104 catches this past season.
Here’s a look at the top options for filling the void left by Agholor.
Juju Smith – Just as Agholor easily slipped into the starting role following Marqise Lee’s departure, Smith will be set up for an incredible sophomore year as the primary passing target. He made spectacular catches reminiscent of his recent predecessors, beginning with an insane 123 yard debut in the season opener and continuing with a three touchdown performance against Washington State. It’s going to be a joy seeing him evolve over the next two years, especially when he takes on Bama in 2016.
Oct 11, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Nelson Agholor (15) celebrates with teammate Darreus Rogers (1) after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Darreus Rogers – Beneath Juju, though, is a No. 2 WR spot that is way up for grabs. The first candidate would be Rogers, but his body of work in 2014 isn’t that big. His standout moment came against Oregon State, when he caught a 48-yard Hail Mary just before halftime. Outside of that, he was mostly used for underneath passes to get quick first downs, only racking up 21 receptions on the season. If we were going strictly by the depth chart, Rogers would be the new No. 2 guy, but then there’s the matter of…
Adoree Jackson – …the flashiest, most perplexing player on the team. Jackson arrived at SC with truckloads of hype, and he’s lived up to the hype in every way possible, culminating in a national coming out party at the Holiday Bowl where he gave every photographer in attendance their golden shot with a front flip into the end zone.
Obviously, after that special teams performance, Jackson is practically locked to replace Agholor as special teams return man. The tricky part, though, is to figure out how to best utilize this jack-of-all-trades. Jackson is a cornerback, and this team will definitely need him if they have any hope of figuring out how to close out games in the future with tighter defenses. At the same time, he’s a prolific receiver, hauling in three TDs this year. Jackson and Rogers will take turns standing opposite Smith, but Sark is going to have to figure out this month just how much he can use Jackson for both sides of the ball while giving him a chance to catch his breath every once in a while.
Who will emerge in 2015 to replace Nelson Agholor?