USC football’s power running back Markese Stepp is in the transfer portal
USC football’s running back room just took a major hit.
On Monday evening, Markese Stepp put his name in the transfer portal, officially beginning the process of leaving the Trojans.
The news comes courtesy of multiple sources, including Antonio Morales of The Athletic, Ryan Young of TrojansSports.com and Keely Eure of USC Football.com.
Needless to say, it’s pretty clear Stepp is on his way out.
Markese Stepp is planning to leave USC football after a frustrating season
It’s not a huge surprise to see Stepp walk out the door. The powerhouse running back has been searching for a larger role in USC’s offense which just hasn’t materialized for one reason or another.
Injuries have played a part in limiting Stepp’s touches, but the Air Raid offense hasn’t made running the ball a priority while the running back rotation has been packed.
Stepp ended the 2020 season with 45 total carries, finishing third among Trojans. Vavae Malepeai led the team with 54 carries while Stephen Carr had 46. Speedster Kenan Christon had just 10.
There simply haven’t been enough carries to go around and those that have materialized weren’t particularly successful. USC’s rushing attack was plagued with predictability, poor blocking and other failures.
Despite his 3.67 yards per carry average in 2020, Stepp still demonstrated the skills that made him a fan favorite. He ran with power when given the opportunity, bursting into the endzone for three touchdowns on the year.
It will be interesting to see what USC’s running back rotation looks like in 2021. Malepeai and Carr are both seniors but they do have the option to return with an extra season of eligibility if they choose.
Christon could have many of the same complaints as Stepp in terms of availability and quality of touches, but the door would open up for more opportunities if Stepp and others walk away.
There will be at least one new face to add to the mix as the Trojans signed four-star back Brandon Campbell on Early Signing Day.