5 Takeaways from USC Football’s Spring Game Depth Chart


Steve Sarkisian released his spring game depth chart Friday afternoon, penning Darreus Rodgers and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick as surprise starters along with Chris Hawkins earning a co-starting role.

Injury’s took their toll on USC’s lineups this spring as key players like Antwaun Woods, Chad Wheeler and Anthony Sarao sat out most of camp, but Sarkisian’s depth chart reveals the spine of the team expected to take the field in 2015.

Here are five early takeaway’s from the spring game depth chart:

1) Incoming freshman have their positions.

After USC’s big linebacker haul on Signing Day, there was plenty of talk about which blue chip recruit would fit where in the Trojans’ defense.

We ourselves even put out a projected defensive depth chart, using what we thought was conventional wisdom with John Houston at the weakside inside linebacker spot, Osa Masina as a strongside outside linebacker and Porter Gustin as a rush end.

Yet on Friday, Steve Sarkisian and defensive coordinator pulled a fast one, putting Houston outside and Masina inside.

While Masina has the athleticsm to play the weakside spot, it’ll be interesting to see how Houston plays a run-stopper in fall camp.

2) Chris Hawkins is coming for Leon McQuay III’s job.

Oct 11, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Southern California Trojans cornerback Chris Hawkins (4) reacts prior to the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Leon McQuay III started spring camp ready to build upon a strong performance in USC’s Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska and lock down one of the two starting safety positions.

Instead, it was converted cornerback Chris Hawkins who made headlines this spring thriving in his new position.

Hawkins did not quite beat out McQuay for the top job at free safety, but he did come leaps and bounds earning a co-starter spot at the position.

Considering Hawkins’ limited experience at the position compared to McQuay’s, the battle should be one to watch as fall camp roles around.

3) Michael Hutchings is not the heir apparent to Hayes Pullard.

The reemergence of Lamar Dawson, on his way back from the knee injury which held him out for the better part of two seasons, was one of the storylines of the spring.

His claim to the starting middle linebacker spot on Sarkisian’s spring game depth chart officially closes the door on the idea that Michael Hutchings would be the one to replace Hayes Pullard in 2015.

Instead, Hutchings finds himself tied for second on the depth chart at weakside linebacker, listed as co-number two with Olajuwon Tucker.

Apr 13, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (88) during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4) Rumors of Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick’s demise were greatly exaggerated.

After the shock of Bryce Dixon’s absence wore off, the Trojans were handed another, more welcome, surprise in Connor Spears, the walk-on transfer tight end.

Spears came out of no where to excel this spring, even spurring some opinions that he might overtake Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick’s presumed starting job after a shaky first couple weeks of practice.

As it turns out, Cope-Fitzpatrick’s spot atop the depth chart at tight end remains intact. For now, Spears offers the Trojans much-needed depth and yet another capable option at a thin position.

Also of note, the extent of Dixon’s demise appears in question.despite reports that he had been kicked off the team, his name remains listed among the Trojan players on the depth chart.

5) Consistent Darreus Rogers earns starting spot.

Darreus Rogers entered spring camp with something to prove after entering Sarkisian’s dog house late in 2014 despite earning the No. 1 jersey in fall camp.

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And right on cue, the junior wideout had a good enough spring to get first billing as the Trojans’ split end following the departures of Nelson Agholor and George Farmer.

Steven Mitchell has been the star receiver of the spring, but the possession receiver role is a job that seems tailor made for Rogers at this point given Mitchell’s versatility from the slot.

What say you, USC fans? What’s your biggest takeaway from Sark’s depth chart? Vote in our poll and sound off below in the comments.

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