Which of USC Football’s highly-rated redshirt freshman will break onto the scene in their second year as Trojans? The pool of potential impact players is brimming.
USC Football had more than a few unexpected redshirts from the class of 2017. As a result, there is a talented group of second-year Trojans who are still waiting for their taste of the action in cardinal and gold.
Here’s a look at five potentially impact redshirt freshman for 2018:
Marlon Tuipulotu | Defensive Lineman
Few freshman in USC’s 2017 recruiting class were considered as such a pivotal pickup or as highly-anticipated as was Marlon Tuipulotu.
The Trojans stole the four-star nose tackle’s commitment from Washington on the eve of Signing Day. Since he enrolled early, he was expected to contribute right away for a thin Trojan defensive line.
And he was on track to do just that, even starting in Week 2 against Stanford. However, a sprained knee took him out of the lineup for a week before a re-aggravated back injury ended his freshman season early. He was able to take a medical redshirt because he had only played two weeks of the season.
Now Tuipulotu’s legend is right back where it started. He’s a potentially key figure on the defensive line, especially with starting nose tackle Josh Fatu graduated. At worst, he’ll split time with Brandon Pili as big bodies in the middle. If he lives up to his promise, he’ll lock down a starting job on the defensive line and set the tone for USC in the trenches with size, strength and explosiveness.
That’s if he can get and stay healthy. He’ll sit out Spring Camp as he continues to rehab from back surgery.