USC Football Spring Camp Review: Wide receiver thinned out

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

USC Football’s wide receiver group thinned out considerably through the course of Spring Camp, but Tyler Vaughns left no doubt about his quality.

Under other circumstances, losing two of their top three receivers would have sent USC Football on a frantic search to find replacements.

As it so happens, the Trojans are surprisingly settled at receiver with Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman returning to start.

Here’s a look at USC’s receivers during Spring Camp…

Roster Rundown

Returning (7): *Michael Pittman, Jr.*Tyler Vaughns, RS-So.Josh Imatorbhebhe, RS-So.Velus Jones Jr. RS-So.Trevon Sidney, RS-So.Keyshawn “Pie” Young, RS-So.Randal Grimes, So.

Fall Enrollees (2):Amon-Ra St. Brown, Fr.Devon Williams, Fr.

*Returning starter

USC probably should have had a greater amount of depth to work with this spring, but circumstances got in the way and numbers looked worryingly thin.

First Joseph Lewis’ legal troubles took him off the roster. Then Jalen Greene opted to transfer away for his final season. Finally Randal Grimes and Keyshawn “Pie” Young missed the second half of camp to focus on academics.

On top of that, Pittman injured his shoulder and was in-and-out of pads for the last few weeks.

That left a core group of Vaughns, Josh Imatorbhebhe, Trevon Sidney and Velus Jones Jr. to  take the spotlight for themselves.

Vaughns was the undisputed No. 1 receiver and went about his business following the example of Deontay Burnett. He put his head down, got to work and looked great doing it.

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Imatorbhebhe had some flashes, including a particularly exceptional week of practice when Pittman was out. However, he also faded at times. He’ll have to show more to prove he can be a dependable option behind Vaughns and Pittman on the outside.

Sidney held down first team reps in the slot but had a surprisingly quiet camp for a player who spent so much time with the first team.

Jones Jr. provided the more flashy plays, getting downfield for a number of highlight plays. It was a mirror of last year’s promising offseason display, but like Imatorbhebhe he has a way to go before he proves himself as a real contributor beyond his role on sweeps.

Biggest Winner

Imatorbhebhe and Jones Jr. came the closest to looking like true targets for the Trojans beyond Vaughns and Pittman.

With Amon-Ra St. Brown and Devon Williams due to arrive this summer, it was important for those two to raise their level and they achieved that for the most part.

The next step is fending off the newcomers by continuing on the upward trajectory.

Biggest Disappointment

Grimes had a huge opportunity this spring with Pittman injured for parts and Lewis gone. Instead, he saw barely any practice time and never quite sparked when he was present.

The sophomore was on the cusp of contributing as a freshman before breaking his hand and missing the rest of the season. Again this spring a hurdle seems to have gotten in the way at the worst possible moment.

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If he gets his academics in order and gets back onto the field, Grimes could regain a foothold in the rotation. Just as easily, Williams could jump ahead in the pecking order as a tall, athletic receiver in a similar mold.