USC FOOTBALL NEWS

USC Football: 10 most-likely All-Pac-12 candidates for 2017

Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Deontay Burnett (80) celebrates making a catch for a touchdown with tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe (88) during the first quarter of the 2017 Rose Bowl game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Deontay Burnett (80) celebrates making a catch for a touchdown with tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe (88) during the first quarter of the 2017 Rose Bowl game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 30, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans running back Ronald Jones II (25) is tackled by Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Darius Hillary (5) during the 2015 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 30, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans running back Ronald Jones II (25) is tackled by Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Darius Hillary (5) during the 2015 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Ronald Jones | Running Back

For the first time since arriving at USC, Ronald Jones II is the undisputed No. 1 running back in the Trojan backfield. Since he already broke USC’s freshman rushing record and then managed more than 1,000 yards rushing as a sophomore, the Texas Tesla’s trajectory points upward.

He might not have approached the yardage marks of other Pac-12 running backs in 2016, Jones earned an All-Pac-12 second team nod thanks to his 6.11 yards per carry average –second-best behind Christian McCaffrey among backs in the conference with a minimum 150 carries– and 12 touchdowns.

There’s no question that Jones can challenge for a first team All-Pac-12 place this time around.

Competition: Like Darnold, as much as Jones feels like a first team talent, the Pac-12 is loaded with challengers to the throne. McCaffrey has vacated one of the first team slots, but Washington’s Myles Gaskin returns after a 1,373-yard sophomore campaign ready to reclaim his spot.

Then there’s McCaffrey’s heir-apparent Bryce Love who will be leading the Cardinal offense, Oregon’s Royce Freeman who will look to bounce back after a bit of a junior slump, and Colorado’s Phillip Lindsay who led the conference in rushing touchdowns as a junior.

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