USC Football has three representatives on Athlon Sports 2017 Preseason All-America team, but no Trojans appear on the first team.
USC Football has more than a few All-American candidates for 2017, but none of them are sure-fire first teamers. At least, that’s what you can conclude looking at the Athlon Sports 2017 Preseason All-America team.
Quarterback Sam Darnold, running back Ronald Jones II and linebacker Cameron Smith received nods, but none of them broke into the first team ranks.
As a Heisman favorite, Darnold will certainly make more than a few All-American first teams if he lives up to expectations. However, Athlon slotted him on the second team behind Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.
Considering Mayfield’s nation-leading passer rating of 196.38 in 2016, he makes sense as a first team selection.
Jones slipped in as a running back on the fourth team, joining Washington’s Myles Gaskin. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and LSU’s Derrius Guice were unsurprisingly voted to the preseason first team.
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Though Jones’ talent is undeniable, competition at running back will be fierce when it comes to national recognition in 2017.
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On the defensive side of the ball, Smith appears on the second team at linebacker. Washington’s Azeem Victor, Iowa’s Josey Jewell and LSU’s Arden Key make up the first team.
Alabama leads all teams with seven selections while Washington boasts six. USC’s three selections tied for fifth.
When the season ends, it may be easy to look back and point out some snubs when it comes to USC’s All-American potential. Cornerback Iman Marshall, outside linebacker Porter Gustin, defensive end Rasheem Green, tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe and wide receiver Deontay Burnett could put themselves in the conversation with big performances in 2017.
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Flying even further under the radar, linebacker Uchenna Nwosu and offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn could also launch their stock sky high.