Trojan Upside Creates Optimism and More USC Football News

Mar 8, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive end Oluwole Betiku (99) during spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive end Oluwole Betiku (99) during spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Clay Helton doesn’t want to talk about talent, but the Trojans’ upside is still an unavoidable subject. Plus USC football news from around the web.

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

1st & 5:

First Take… Is “upside” a reasonable substitute for “talent”?

It’s been documented how Clay Helton and his staff are pushing back against the T-word this offseason, so it’s interesting to note how Bleacher Report rated USC’s roster as the No. 5 squad in college football with the most upside.

As BR points out, the Trojans have 19 underclassmen in the projected two-deep this year after seeing 20 freshmen contribute in 2015 and maintaining a three-year average of 6.67 in the 247Sports composite rankings.

Expanding on that, Helton’s men of Troy feature some special sophomores like Ronald Jones II, Porter Gustin, Rasheem Green, Iman Marshall and Marvell Tell whose exceptional freshman seasons suggest they could provide the core of a successful squad.

And after strong spring showings, early enrollees Michael Pittman, Josh Imatorbhebhe and Oluwole Betiku seem certain to continue contributing freshman trend.

But it’s not just young contributors USC has at their disposal. The Trojans return one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country and will have bonafide junior stars in Adoree’ Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster leading the team on defense and offense.

There’s many reasons to doubt the Trojans abilities to make a splash on the national stage this season — from a ridiculously tough schedule to recent history of unreliability, inconsistency and instability.

Still, whether you call it talent or upside, there’s also a number of reasons to think USC has the firepower to be a contender in the Pac-12, if not the playoff race.

And Five USC Football and Basketball News Links…

  1. “Notes from Thursday throwing session” ( Paskwietz breaks down the action from USC’s throwing session, including lots of action for tight end Tyler Petite.
  2. “Quarterback the big Pac-12 question entering 2016” (ESPN)Years ago the Pac-12 had a clear wealth of quarterbacking talent. As this season approached the conference is waiting for the next generation of stars to emerge at the position thanks to half a dozen starting battles still unresolved. USC is in the thick of that with Max Browne and Sam Darnold.
  3. “Adoree’ Jackson Makes Pac-12 Cover of Phil Steele’s Magazine” (Inside USC)USC’s do-everything man Adoree’ Jackson features on the cover of Phil Steele’s college football preview magazine along with UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and Washington’s Budda Baker.
  4. “ESPN picks X-factor for USC football” (247 Sports)Kevin Ryan pointed out that ESPN Magazine’s college football preview issue dubbed Rasheem Green as the “X-factor” for the Trojans in 2016. A big season from the big man on the defensive line could make or break the unit in a rebuilding year.
  5. “ESPN Predicts Pac-12 Order of Finish” (College Spun)Another snippet from ESPN Magazine, which totally buys into USC’s upside in 2016. The Trojans are predicted to win the Pac-12 South AND the conference title game over Washington.

Reign Of Troy Radio:

This week on RoT Radio, Michael and Alicia chat about the Trojans’ pair of recent commitments and Cam Smith’s potential move to the No. 55.

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