The USC depth chart at wide receiver is mighty but short on numbers.
Here’s the thing about the USC depth chart going into 2020. The Trojans are loaded where they’re loaded. But the roster isn’t without flaws.
The wide receiver position has it all: The great strength. And the great worry.
That’s because once again USC will enter a campaign with an elite-caliber wide receiver corps balancing on a knife’s edge because of depth.
USC depth chart at wide receiver:
The Trojans have said goodbye to Michael Pittman, who will be catching passes for the Indianapolis Colts when the NFL season starts up. He is the only departure from a receiving corps that helped USC finish second in the Pac-12 with 335.8 passing yards per game.
While one is out, two are in. The Trojans added four-star receiver Gary Bryant Jr. along with three-star Narbonne product Josh Jackson to the roster with the class of 2020.
Those two only bring USC up to nine scholarship receivers for the season, which is not exactly ideal for the Air Raid offense. Injury luck will play a major role in how the unit holds up.
(1) Tyler Vaughns
(2) Amon-Ra St. Brown
Gary Bryant Jr.
(3) Drake London
John Jackson III
(4) Bru McCoy
USC’s wide receiver depth took a hit straight out of the gate with the news that Kyle Ford tore his ACL and will miss the 2020 season.
Fortunately for the Trojans, the starting lineup remains largely intact. Tyler Vaughns, Amon Ra-St. Brown and Drake London were three of USC’s four leading receivers in 2019. Each will have ample opportunity to make plays, especially as Pittman’s touches are distributed among them.
The newcomer among the likely starters is Bru McCoy, the former five-star who enrolled at USC, transferred to Texas, transferred back to USC then sat out the 2019 season while redshirting and fighting off a series of mysterious fevers. McCoy’s first year in college was definitely a whirlwind. Now the focus will be on putting that year behind him while making an impact as a redshirt freshman. Pittman’s place on the outside is there for the taking.
If McCoy can’t manage a starting place, the open spot could be occupied by sophomore Munir McClain. McClain was a pleasant surprise as a three-star signee in 2019. Unfortunately, his season was cut short against Arizona when he tore ligaments in his knee. Since that injury occurred back in October, he’ll be on track to return healthy by the time Fall Camp begins. Getting back into tip-top shape is the bigger concern.
On the inside, London is expected to retain his role as a mismatch nightmare. His production should go way up. John Jackson III can offer a decent backup option as another wide receiver who could double as a hybrid tight end.
St. Brown has the gifts to move around the formation, so don’t think for a second he’ll stick to a traditional slot role. Another 1,000-yard receiving season is well within reach, along with Biletnikoff Award candidacy.
SEE ALSO: Amon-Ra St. Brown on track for greatness
Bryant Jr. can serve as St. Brown’s understudy in the slot. Even though they’re very different players, it’s Bryant who could benefit most from Ford’s absence. Beyond the core four, the Trojans will need someone to step up as a reliable pass-catching option.
Vaughns already is one of those reliable figures and his final campaign in cardinal in gold is set up to be his best. Behind him is true freshman Josh Jackson. In a perfect world, Jackson would be allowed to redshirt while contributing in the maximum four games.