Linebacker Tayler Katoa is leaving for a two-year mission according to a report, while best and worst case scenarios were floated. Here’s the USC football roundup for August 1.
USC football may be short one linebacker this fall with a new report from Chris Trevino of USCFootball.com that redshirt freshman Tayler Katoa plans to leave for his Mormon mission.
Members of the Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged to take a mission once they reach adulthood. If the report is true, Katoa is following in the footsteps of many other players who have put their football careers on hold to spend two years in service as a missionary.
Katoa redshirted last season after suffering a knee injury during Spring Camp. He had been one of a handful of early enrollees hoping to impress enough to receive early playing time. Instead he spent the year rehabbing.
If Katoa stayed with USC this year, it would be hard to predict where he could break into the lineup either way. The Trojans are set at inside linebacker with Cameron Smith and John Houston entrenched as starters. Behind them, a trio of new, heralded inside linebacker recruits signed in the class of 2018.
After two years on mission, Katoa could return to USC with more opportunities for playing time, with Smith and Houston both graduated by then.
Best case-worst care scenarios
The Twitter account @SportsPac12 ran through some “best case-worst case” scenarios for USC and every other Pac-12 program on Wednesday. Their assessment seems fair and accurate.
Expecting a USC team with a first-time starter at quarterback and one of the nation’s toughest schedules to go undefeated is expecting too much. But the Trojans could still be a playoff team if they suffer just one loss, especially if it’s in the early going and isn’t entirely embarrassing (like last year’s defeat at Notre Dame).
On the flip side, the Trojans have too much talent on the squad to expect anything less than a decent output in 2018. This team shouldn’t be fearing for their bowl eligibility. An 8-4 record as a worst case might be a tad generous under previous coaching staffs more prone to losing games they shouldn’t.
But Clay Helton’s staff has been nothing if not consistent in the nature of their wins and losses. USC is likely to win the games they should win against the likes of UNLV and the lesser half of the Pac-12. It’s the tough games against Stanford, Texas, Arizona, Utah and Notre Dame they need to worry about. Throw in the UCLA game as a potential loss if you’re feeling pessimistic.
SEE ALSO: Five reasons to be pessmistic about 2018
Where are they now, 2015 edition
Shotgun Spratling at USCFootball.com took a look at USC’s 2015 recruiting class, or at least all the players who have left the Trojans by now.
Members of that class will be key to the Trojans’ fate in 2018 with Cameron Smith, Iman Marshall, Chuma Edoga, Porter Gustin, Marvell Tell, Tyler Petite, Christian Rector and others set return as starters.
But examining the rest of the class, from de-commits to transfers and NFL departures, is an interesting walk down memory lane.
CHECK OUT: Ranking USC’s 2018 opponents by threat level
Meet Jay Tufele
Today’s Trojan Trivia
USC’s class of 2015 was ranked second nationally in the 247Sports composite. That’s the highest ranking for a Trojan class since 2009 was also ranked second.