USC head coach Steve Sarkisian joined NFL Network’s Path to the Draft to give the lowdown on all the top draft prospects he had a hand in coaching, including Leonard Williams, Nelson Agholor and Buck Allen.
“I wish I had him another year,” Sarkisian joked about Williams, when asked about the honor to have fielded the near-unanimous best player in the draft. He later quipped about the downside of Agholor’s big season in the uptempo offense drawing him towards the NFL.
Still, Sarkisian was nothing but enthusiastic about the NFL talent that USC continues to produce.
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Williams, the No.1 prospect for 2015, earned particular praise for his attitude about the game.
“That guy loves football. He loves playing football. He loves his teammates,” Sarkisian said, noting the fact that Williams played through injury yet rarely came off the field for the Trojans.
One of the more impressive sides of Williams, Sarkisian said, is his ability to stay sharp despite fatigue. The Trojan head coach gushed about his 300-pound defensive lineman coming up with some of his biggest plays at the end of long, no-huddle drives.
“That’s what excites teammates. You see the biggest guys on the team, but they’re athletic and they love playing the game down after down after down.”
On Agholor, Sarkisian praised his commitment to the new offense, especially his willingness to move wherever the coaches needed him, whether that be on the outside, in the slot or even in the backfield.
“He’s a student of the game, he works at it. Ultimately it allowed us to have some fun with him and be really creative,” Sarkisian said. “It allowed him to have a terrific junior season — probably too great that’s why he’s going on to the NFL.”
Sarkisian also got a chance to comment on Allen, whose ability to catch the ball out of the backfield might be one of his greatest assets.
“In football in general, the running back is a skill set that has had to evolve as the game has evolved. The backs are catching more and more balls and it’s not just the checkdowns.”
Both Allen and Washington running back Bishop Sankey allowed Sarkisian’s Trojan and Husky offenses to add another valuable element.
On the Washington side of things, Sarkisian talked about key players he recruited up north. He complimented Danny Shelton’s versatility on the defensive line, noted that he would draft Shaq Thompson as a linebacker and praised Marcus Peters for his edge at cornerback.
You can watch Sarkisian’s full appearance on the NFL Network here.