USC football: Three seniors with the most to prove in 2020

USC football running back Stephen Carr (Harry How/Getty Images)
USC football running back Stephen Carr (Harry How/Getty Images) /
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USC football defensive lineman Brandon Pili. (John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports)
USC football defensive lineman Brandon Pili. (John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports) /

USC football senior with something to prove: Brandon Pili

Brandon Pili might have come into the 2020 season facing the prospect of once again serving as a much-used backup. Then Jay Tufele declared for the NFL Draft and a clear starting job emerged for the senior defensive tackle.

Even as the Trojans plan to use plenty of rotation, Pili is likely to have the most consistent playing time of his career this year. It’s time to make it count.

Pili was a surprise contributor as a true freshman in 2017 and even was given an All-Pac-12 honorable mention. In 2018 he appeared to take a step back as fellow 2017 recruits Marlon Tuipulotu and Tufele raised their profile. After starting the first two games, Pili came off the bench for the rest of the season and was kicked out of the UCLA game.

Last year Pili was a key contributor, but he still never appeared to reach the level his size and athleticism suggest is his peak. He had 18 tackles with five tackles for loss in 13 games.

Now more than ever Pili needs to take his game up a notch. Perhaps the influence of new defensive line coach Vic So’oto can get him there.

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