Comparing Two-Deep Star Rankings and More USC Football News

Feb 4, 2015; Long Beach, CA, USA; Long Beach Poly High Jackrabbits cornerback Iman Marshall poses after announcing his decision to attend the University of Southern California at press conference at Long Beach Poly. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 4, 2015; Long Beach, CA, USA; Long Beach Poly High Jackrabbits cornerback Iman Marshall poses after announcing his decision to attend the University of Southern California at press conference at Long Beach Poly. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama boast an impressive number of top recruits on the depth chart, but so do the Trojans. 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 & 10:

First Word… On Tuesday, Belly of the Beast, an SEC-centric blog, posted a breakdown of Alabama’s 2016 depth chart featuring no names, only star rankings.

The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate just how the Crimson Tide roster is loaded with talent.

After perusing the depth chart, there can be no question, Alabama is a physically talented football team.

Of the 55 players on the two-deep, 42 of them were four or five-star recruits. That’s 76 percent.

Impressively, 13 of those players are five-star talents, while 29 were four-stars.

With that kind of representation, it is no wonder the Tide feature so prominently in any discussion of recruiting ranking average over any recent period of years.

More precisely, the reason for the article’s existence was to show fans of teams not named Alabama just how “trash” their own depth chart is by comparison.

For most squads, the message comes through loud and clear.

But just how outmatched are Alabama’s season opener opponents, the USC Trojans?

Here’s a look at USC’s two-deep with star ratings for reference:


Max Browne ★★★★★

Sam Darnold ★★★★

Running Back

Justin Davis ★★★★

Ronald Jones ★★★★

Wide Receiver 1

JuJu Smith-Schuster ★★★★★

De’Quan Hampton ★★★★

Wide Receiver 2

Darreus Rogers ★★★★

Jalen Greene ★★★

OR Michael Pittman ★★★★

Wide Receiver 3

Steven Mitchell ★★★★

OR Deontay Burnett ★★★

Trevon Sidney ★★★★

OR Velus Jones ★★★

Tight End

Taylor McNamara ★★★★

Tyler Petite ★★★★

OR Daniel Imatorbhebhe ★★★

Right Tackle

Zach Banner ★★★★

Chuma Edoga ★★★★★

Right Guard

Viane Talamaivao ★★★★

Jordan Simmons ★★★★


Toa Lobendahn ★★★★

Nico Falah ★★★★

Left Guard

Chris Brown ★★★★

OR Damien Mama ★★★★

Roy Hemsley ★★★

Left Tackle

Chad Wheeler ★★★

Chuma Edoga ★★★★★

Strongside Linebacker

Uchenna Nwosu ★★★

Jabari Ruffin ★★★★

Defensive Tackle

Noah Jefferson ★★★★

OR Rasheem Green ★★★★★

Christian Rector ★★★

Nose Tackle

Stevie Tu’ikolovatu N/A

Khaliel Rodgers ★★★★

Defensive End

Malik Dorton ★★★

OR Rasheem Green ★★★★★

Josh Fatu ★★★

Outside Linebacker

Porter Gustin ★★★★

Don Hill ★★★

OR Oluwole Betiku ★★★★★

OR Connor Murphy ★★★★

Middle Linebacker

Cameron Smith ★★★★

Olajuwon Tucker ★★★

Weakside Linebacker

Michael Hutchings ★★★★

Osa Masina ★★★★

OR Quinton Powell ★★★★

Cornerback 1

Iman Marshall ★★★★★

Ajene Harris ★★

OR Jack Jones ★★★★★

Strong Safety

Chris Hawkins ★★★★

OR Leon McQuay ★★★★★

Matt Lopes N/A

Free Safety

Marvell Tell ★★★★

Ykili Ross ★★★★

Cornerback 2

Adoree’ Jackson ★★★★★

Jonathan Lockett ★★★★

OR Isaiah Langley ★★★★

For those keeping score, that’s 55 players on USC’s two-deep, not including the kickers or the repeat appearances by Chuma Edoga and Rasheem Green. Of those, 39 were four or five-star recruits coming out of high school.

In other words, 70 percent of USC’s two-deep were top-flight recruits.

That’s incredibly close to Alabama’s percentage when you consider the fortunes of the two programs over the last five years.

More from Reign of Troy

While the Tide outmatch USC on five-star recruits, it’s not by all that much. The Trojans boast nine five-stars to Alabama’s 13.

In truth, USC’s recruiting averages have been among the best, despite the scholarship reductions and instability around the program.

In the end, star rankings don’t mean that much. After all, Chad Wheeler is a three-year starter but only had three-stars when he arrived at USC. Meanwhile, Utah transfer Stevie Tu’ikolovatu didn’t draw any star rankings but still looks set to be a major cog in the Trojan defense.

What these comparisons do tell us is that while the Tide have trophies to show for their loaded roster, the Trojans will field just as much potential. The key is getting that potential to produce.

And Ten USC Football and Basketball News Links…

  1. “Osa Masina Under Investigation For Sexual Assault” (Reign of Troy)Unfortunately, the big news from Tuesday added detail to Osa Masina’s season opener suspension, which will likely extend beyond the first game as he faced two investigations into alleged sexual assaults.
  2. “Breaking down Alabama vs. USC, position by position” (ESPN)Kyle Bonagura and Alex Scarborough go position by position to determine who has the edge in Saturday’s game, with the Trojans winning at QB, RB, and Secondary. Receiver and special teams came in at a push.
  3. “5 Things to Watch For in USC vs Alabama Game” (Reign of Troy)What are the big storylines heading into USC vs. Alabama? Win streaks, QB controversies, new coordinators, top receivers and injury concerns.
  4. “How the 2016 Alabama Offense Matches Up vs USC” (Reign of Troy)Our Alabama previews kick off with a look at how the Tide offense, with a new QB, new running backs and weapons like Calvin Ridley and O.J. Howard, match up with the Trojans defense.
  5. “USC vs. Alabama: Preview, Prediction, Players to Watch” (Bleacher Report)SEC writer Christopher Walsh previews the weekend’s game singling out USC’s keys to victory, including winning in the trenches, nullifying Alabama’s weapons and getting the most from special teams.
  6. “2016 Travel Guide: USC/Alabama in Arlington, TX” ( to the game in Arlington? Greg Katz has a travel guide with information on getting to the stadium, hitting up tourist spots and tailgating.
  7. “Pac-12 Superlatives: Fastest player, strongest arm, etc.” (247 Sports) JuJu Smith-Schuster gets the nod as the most intimidating player in the conference, with video of his stiff arm on Utah’s Dominique Hatfield as proof.
  8. “College Football’s Top 80 Players for 2016” (Athlon Sports) Adoree’ Jackson leads things off at No. 49 of Steve Lassan’s Top 80 players in CFB this year. Zach Banner is No. 37 and JuJu Smith-Schuster is No. 13.
  9. “Ranking 30 hottest rivalries in college football” (Sporting News) The UCLA-USC rivalry ranks No. 17 on Bill Bender’s list of the hottest rivalries in the nation, followed closely at No. 15 by Notre Dame-USC. It’s a rating that doesn’t quite hold up when it’s Ohio State-Michigan at No. 1 despite the Buckeyes winning nine of the last ten.
  10. “Slimmed-down Noah Jefferson feels stronger” ( Jefferson says being out so long with a back injury was discouraging, but it also made him hungrier to take the field with his teammates.

Stat of the Day:

USC is 3-0 all time in domed stadiums. Alabama is 21-7-1 under domes, but has a perfect 6-0 record in domed openers.

Social Media Snapshot: