Which freshman will be the most critical to USC Football’s success in 2017? The Trojans have several young talents to rely on going forward.
A full roster in 2017 means USC Football won’t have to rely as much on freshmen as they have in the past. However, that doesn’t mean the Trojans won’t get big contributions from young players.
After redshirt seasons and breakout springs, receiver Velus Jones and safety Jamel Cook look ready to make their mark while true freshmen like receiver Joseph Lewis and running back Stephen Carr could force their way into the lineup.
But those are just some honorable mentions. Now here’s a look at the five most important freshman for USC in 2017:
5. Michael Brown | Kicker
When USC signed kicker Michael Brown as part of the 2016 recruiting class, bringing him in as a scholarship player, it caused some raised eyebrows. Afterall, the Trojans would have another scholarship kicker, Matt Boermeester, on the roster for another two years.
As it turns out, the decision to add Brown was a stroke of good fortune, as Boermeester was removed from the roster due to a student-conduct issue this spring. Now Brown looks set to take over starting placekicking duties, making him a critical figure for the Trojans in 2017.
Brown hit a 57-yard field goal as a senior at Linfield Christian High School, in Temecula. He was 25-of-38 on field goals in four years and went 154-of-162 PATs in that span.
USC knows all too well how valuable a kicker can be, having won the 2017 Rose Bowl on Boermeester’s last-second field goal. The Trojans may not need Brown to provide the same kind of once-in-a-lifetime heroics, but not having to worry about the kicking game would go a long way towards keeping things running smoothly.