USC football: Talanoa Hufanga on Thorpe Award watchlist for 2020

USC football safety Talanoa Hufanga(Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
USC football safety Talanoa Hufanga(Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

USC football was represented on the 2020 Thorpe Award watchlist by Talanoa Hufanga.

Sure, the 2020 season is in doubt, but that’s not stopping the annual wave of award watch lists from arriving.

On Monday, it was Talanoa Hufanga who got a mention on the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list for 2020.

The Trojan safety is entering his junior season with high expectations after a stellar first two seasons in cardinal and gold.

Talanoa Hufanga has the chance to be great for USC football.

Hufanga finished off his sophomore campaign as USC’s co-Defensive Perimeter Player of the Year thanks to 90 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three deflections and two forced fumbles.

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His production could have been even better if he had been able to play the whole season. He started 10 games, but a concussion kept him out against Utah and Washington before a shoulder sprain against Arizona caused him to miss the Colorado and Oregon games.

Injury has been an unfortunate feature of Hufanga’s career. His promising freshman season was cut short by a broken collarbone. He rebroke that bone during Spring Camp.

When he hasn’t been injured, Hufanga has been spectacular, showing a nose for the football and the kind of aggressive attitude that results in impact plays across the field.

Hufanga is the type of player new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando should relish getting to deploy.

It’s reasonable to predict a potential All-American run for Hufanga as a junior, especially after he finished last season with an 18-tackle performance against UCLA and an outing against Iowa with 14 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.

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Should the 2020 season go on as planned, USC will see several other members of the Thorpe Award Watch List. Stanford’s Paulson Adebo, Cal’s Camryn Bynum, Oregon’s Thomas Graham and Jevon Holland and Washington’s Elijah Molden also made the list.

Had the season opener against Alabama not been canceled, the Trojans would have also faced Patrick Surtain II in that outing.

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