USC Football Spring Camp Review: Running backs rise

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC Football’s running backs were the bright spot on offense during Spring Camp 2018, with Aca’Cedric Ware and Vavae Malepeai rising to the challenge.

USC Football lost an All-American at running back, but the Trojans appear to have some answers when it comes to replacing Ronald Jones II.

Spring Camp made that clear enough when Aca’Cedric Ware and Vavae Malepeai put on a show.

Here’s a look at the Trojan running backs this spring…

Roster Rundown

Returning (4): Aca’Cedric Ware, Sr.Vavae Malepeai, RS-So.Stephen Carr, So.Dominic Davis, RS-Jr.

Fall Enrollees (1):Markese Stepp, Fr.

*Returning starter

USC went into Spring Camp with reasons to be quite confident at running back despite the loss of Ronald Jones II to the NFL. Unfortunately, the best laid plans didn’t exactly follow through when word emerged that Stephen Carr would miss all of spring with injury. There was another hit when Malepeai was forced to sit out for couple of weeks with a hamstring injury.

The thinned numbers forced the Trojans to turn to Dominic Davis, who had converted to cornerback last year. However, that didn’t last long as Davis missed the final weeks of camp after undergoing surgery to repair his deviated septum.

Luckily, Ware and the soon-enough healthy Malepeai were good enough on their own to make the Trojan running game one of the bright spots of camp. They certainly made the case for USC to make the ground the focal point of the offense for 2018, especially during the live scrimmage on the second-to-last Saturday of camp.

Biggest Winner

Ware had a spring in his step this Spring Camp with the added muscle clearly giving him a boost of confidence in his running ability. His between-the-tackles rushing has never been better, he remains a viable receiving option out of the backfield and he was always USC’s best blocking back to begin with.

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In short, Ware is nothing short of a complete back and he showed that this spring. Carr may be the flashier talent, but based on his spring showcase, Ware could very well end up with more carries in 2018.

Biggest Disappointment

Carr’s absence was the biggest disappointment for a couple of reasons. For one, his injury record in a year at USC is not exactly encouraging. He missed a month during the season with a foot injury and faced a lengthy layoff this spring because of back surgery.

The nature of the surgery itself is a major worry, as back problems have a tendency to linger.

TRENDING: Spring Camp Superlatives — Who Stood Out?

Mostly, it was disappointing to miss out on seeing the Trojan offense with Carr available alongside the likes of Ware and Malepeai. With all three capable backs available, it will be interesting to see how the rotation and balance of the running game settles out. Figuring that out will have to wait.