Anthony Sarao Says Linebackers Are Nation’s Best, More USC Football News


Can’t get enough USC football? We’ve got your morning dose of all the best content from around the web concerning the men of Troy.

1st & 10:

First Take… Phil Steele ranked USC’s linebackers as the top collection for that unit in the country in his College Football Preview, and Trojan linebacker Anthony Sarao wasn’t about to argue that point.

“If you’re looking at our room, I’m thinking there’s no coach in the country, including the SEC, who wouldn’t trade for our roster,” Sarao told

They may not be in the SEC, but Michigan has three players featured on the Butkus Award watch list for 2015, so could Steele and Sarao be speaking the truth?

Actually, yes.

Or, as with so much related to USC in 2015, potentially yes.

USC’s two-deep was already looking strong. Su’a Cravens alone is one of the most exciting players to play the position for the Trojans in years. Alongside him, Sarao is a capable two-year starter back for year three and the rush end combo of Scott Felix and Jabari Ruffin has enough potential to feel secure.

Add in the return of Lamar Dawson, with his strong spring performance, and things look pretty peachy.

The thing that puts USC’s linebackers over the top though, is the freshmen. Right now they all sit at the bottom of their respective positions, but there’s not a soul who follows Trojan football who thinks each won’t rise sooner than later to challenge for playing time. Cameron Smith was the least touted of the four and he wasted no time turning heads this spring.

Consider this, the two-deep of USC’s linebacking corps plus the four freshman reinforcements give the Trojans two five-stars, nine four-stars and just one three-star in the projected three-deep.

Sure, star power only counts for so much, but at the very least there are three top-flight athletes competing for snaps at each of the four positions and what seems like the perfect mix of veteran experience and talented youth.

What coach wouldn’t want that?

And Ten Links…

  1. ESPN: How hot is Steve Sarkisian’s hot seat? Not very, according to Ted Miller. It probably depends what time of year you ask the question. After ASU, Utah and UCLA the flames were hot. But a strong recruiting season is like turning on the AC for USC.
  2. ESPN: USC’s special teams situation is in “Good Shape” according to David Lombardi, largely thanks to Adoree’ Jackson’s explosive returns. Sorting out the kicking situation seems like an underrated battle this offseason though, considering the number of close games USC had last year.
  3. OC Register: Fittingly, it’s USC’s No. 2 who checks in at number two on Michael Lev’s count down of the most valuable Trojans in 2015.
  4. Bleacher Report: Speaking of, Adoree’ Jackson ranks No. 4 on on Ben Kercheval’s list of the top return specialists in the country this season.
  5. Bleacher Report: Damon Sayles has some takeaways from The Opening, most notably the recruiting efforts of Frank Martin, who is working hard to secure Tyler Vaughns and current LSU commit Erick Fowler.
  6. Reign of Troy: Max Tuerk made the Lombardi Award watch list, which is no surprise considering his place on the Rimington and Outland watch lists. However, Antwaun Woods being left out is a bit of a head scratcher. Woods is entering his third year as a starter and was named to the Outland watch list, so its not like he’s off the radar.
  7. Reign of Troy: Su’a Cravens and Anthony Sarao appear on the watch list for the Butkus Award. Though this is nothing new for Cravens, it is nice to see Sarao get some national recognition.
  8. Reign of Troy: Keep an eye out for four-star defensive tackle Jordan Elliot, who revealed he will take an official visit to USC. The Houston commit was very high on the Trojans before pledging to the Cougars, so there may be chance for a flip.
  9. Reign of Troy: The preseason depth chart was released yesterday, with Toa Lobendahn featured as a co-starter at both left tackle and left guard. We took a look at what that means as well as a few other tidbits.
  10. Grantland: Matt Hinton takes us through memory lane with a look back at Reggie Bush’s career. The highlight reels alone are worth the trip.

Stat of the Day:

Su’a Cravens’ team-high 17 TFLs were the most by a non-defensive lineman at USC since 2000.

Tweets of the Day:

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