USC Football: Two Trojans Nab 2017 NFL Combine Invites

Nov 19, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Mike Fafaul (12) is pressured by USC Trojans defensive tackle Stevie Tu
Nov 19, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Mike Fafaul (12) is pressured by USC Trojans defensive tackle Stevie Tu /

Invitations for the 2017 NFL Combine have begun to trickle out, with USC football stars, including Darreus Rogers and Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, claiming invites.

At least two USC football draft hopefuls are headed to Indianapolis for the 2017 NFL Combine, with more surely to follow.

On Friday afternoon, Trojan defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze tweeted congratulations to nose tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu for his Combine and Senior Bowl invites.

The Utah transfer earned defensive MVP honors at the Rose Bowl, leading USC with eight tackles while controlling the line of scrimmage throughout the game.

Coming onto the scene so late in his career, Tu’ikolovatu is not rated particularly highly when it comes to draft prospects. CBS Sports rates him as the No. 24 defensive tackle on the board with a draft grade as a seventh rounder or undrafted free agent.

The Combine should be a great opportunity for Tu’ikolovatu to show off the power that made him such an asset to the Trojans, potentially lifting his stock greatly.

Another Trojan who will be looking to raise his stock at the Combine is receiver Darreus Rogers.

Shortly after USC’s Rose Bowl victory, word of a Combine invite for Rogers came out on Twitter.

The late-blooming wide out was a critical piece of USC’s passing game in 2016, finishing second among Trojan receivers with 696 yards and four touchdowns — including one in the Rose Bowl.

Rogers ranks as the 27th receiver in the draft with a sixth-round grade.

The number of Trojans with invites to the Combine is expected to rise beyond just those two.

Senior tackles Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler will almost certainly head to Indianapolis while recently declared offensive guard Damien Mama should expect an invite as well.

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Junior stars JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree’ Jackson have yet to make their draft decisions, but if they opt to leave they’ll be on the list as well.

Running back Justin Davis could be on the fringes to be selected. CBS Sports rates him close to Tu’ikolovatu in their overall rankings with a seventh round or undrafted free agent grade. However, he didn’t have the showcase game that Tu’ikolovatu managed in the Rose Bowl.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if the athleticism and standout performance by Leon McQuay III in Pasadena will be enough to swing an invite as well.

Other Trojans likely to be on the outside looking in include linebacker Michael Hutchings, tight end Taylor McNamara and receivers De’Quan Hampton and Isaac Whitney.