Five biggest battles for USC football spring camp 2019

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

USC football’s 2019 spring camp will feature some major positional battles as the Trojans work to fill starting places across the lineup.

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Every year, USC football launches spring camp with an eye on getting better. The practices in 2019 will be no different as Clay Helton returns to work with the team focusing on fundamentals and technique.

Though the importance of educating players on the practice field will be a talking point, competitions for starting spots will begin once March rolls around, whether or not they plan to be resolved at the end of Spring.

Here are the five biggest battles for USC football’s spring camp in 2019…

Center: Neilon vs. Dedich

Toa Lobendahn has been a fixture on USC’s offensive line for years, but his graduation means an open competition at center.

Redshirt sophomore Brett Neilon made his debut for the Trojans in the 2018 season opener, stepping in for the injured Lobendahn. His encouraging performance against UNLV helped give rise to sentiment later in the season that the former four-star should step in for the snap-challenged starter.

Neilon won’t be able to prove definitively that he deserved to see more playing time this spring, but it will be his opportunity to put a stamp on the position.

The clear challenger to Neilon is Justin Dedich. Like Neilon, he was the No. 2 center in the country coming out of high school. He spent the 2018 season redshirting, with a brief cameo as a lead blocker when Neilon was unavailable for that job in Game 1.

The differentiation between the two is experience, giving Neilon the advantage with an extra year of development under his belt. Even so, Dedich comes at the position with a bulldog-like mentality and is certain to give his teammate a run for his money.

Leveling things out slightly: New offensive line coach Tim Drevno won’t have had much time to form a hardened opinion of either option and both should get fair shot to win the job this offseason.