USC Football Roundup: Freshmen expected to make impact (7/10)

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

There are bold predictions and expectations for several Trojan freshmen going into the 2018 season. Here’s the USC football roundup for July 10.

One of the best things about a new class of freshmen is all the possibilities for them to shine.

That’s been a theme this week with multiple publications turning their eyes to the top first year players making their debuts.

Bleacher Report made bold predictions about a handful of top recruits from 2018, including freshman wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. He’s projected to be first or second in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns for the coming season.

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On the one hand, that is quite bold with Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman poised to lead the passing attack. On the other hand, St. Brown could benefit from preexisting chemistry with JT Daniels if he ultimately wins the starting job.

In a similar vein, Phil Steele ranked his Top 50 true freshman defensive backs for 2018 and all four of USC’s newest additions to the secondary made the cut.

Chief among those is four-star cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart, who ranks third in Steele’s estimation, well ahead of five-star corner Olaijah Griffin, who slotted in at No. 14.

Four-star safety Talanoa Hufanga also earned high billing at No. 17 while four-star cornerback Chase Williams landed at No. 34.

Suffice it to say, USC’s defensive back recruitment has been exception in recent classed and the 2018 haul may not wait long to make their mark. Though it’s tough to see where Hufanga and Williams could fit as freshmen, aside from special teams, both Taylor-Stuart and Griffin

Recruiting success vs. win percentage

Reddit user RatherBeYachting took a look at success in the Pac-12 through the lens of recruiting success, comparing total four and five-star recruits since 2000 with win percentage in that span.

As you’d expect, USC ranks highly in both measures, top of the conference in fact.

The Trojans have had 57 five-star recruits and 183 four-stars this century. They’ve matched that with a Pac-12-best 73.1 win percentage.

Fun fact: “USC has had more 5-star recruits than the five worst recruiting teams have combined 4 and 5-stars.”

Helton’s safe…for now

Dennis Dodd released his College Football Hot Seat Rankings this week, slotting Clay Helton in the “All good…for now” category. That’s a downgrade from last year when he was “safe and secure.”

Part of that is surely that Helton is now in Year 3 with questions still hovering around what his ceiling at USC might be. Still, having just won the Pac-12, it’s continually interesting to see so much skepticism attached to the Trojan head coach.

Tyler Vaughns shaped by older brothers

Chris Hummer of 247Sports has a nice feature on Vaughns, the Trojan wide receiver expected to carry on the torch from Deontay Burnett and past pass-catching stars at USC.

The redshirt sophomore has lofty aspirations and has taken after his brothers, playing a with a small-man mentality in a big body.

Today’s Trojan Trivia

USC’s last season with two 1,000-yard receivers was 2011, when Robert Woods and Marqise Lee accounted for 59 percent of catches.