Shocking USC football depth chart decision shakes up Trojan secondary

Xavion Alford, USC Football, USC Trojans
Xavion Alford, USC Football, USC Trojans / Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

When USC football was to release their depth chart, it was expected that Xavion Alford would be a starter. Not just because he was a four-star recruit and the No. 8 safety in the 2020 recruiting class (all recruiting ratings and rankings in article are as of 247Sports). PLENTY of USC's secondary were very talented recruits.

But it's that Alford had three picks, a couple of PD's, and 31 tackles last year. His name was rarely groaned by disgruntled USC fans who were frustrated at more blown coverage. He flashed his talent that made him so highly coveted out of Shadow Creek High School in Pearland, Texas. He gained experience last year too, and there was sure to be little chance that he'd sit.

However, when the depth chart was released late Wednesday night (technically early Thursday morning), he was not only not a starter but also THIRD string. This was shocking on a couple of different levels. That's because Max Williams was expected by many to play nickel, and he was moved to free safety. The domino effect was part of then what forced Alford to boot down the depth chart.

Calen Bullock, and not Xavion Alford will be starting for USC football to begin the season.

Of course, it was expected that both Bullock and Xavion Alford would be starting at safety for USC football. Bullock would be the free safety, and Alford would be the strong safety. That is obviously nowhere near what actually happened. And this also goes to show that Anthony Beavers, who is listed as the second string strong safety, must have had one heck of an offseason.

That's encouraging. While Beavers didn't really play last year, he was the No. 10 Athlete nationally in the 2021 recruiting class. It was a class that was strong for USC--typically for the Defensive Backfield. Beavers was the No. 222 player in the country overall. Perhaps Alford being bumped down isn't necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps it just means that everyone else is developing rapidly.

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That will be the hope, as the secondary was suspected to be the deepest group on defense. For the former blue chip recruits to potentially be ahead of schedule in their development would be a massive boost to this program. Heck, few would have expected Jaylin Smith (another four-star Athlete from the 2021 class) to start, and there he is at nickel. One thing's clearly for sure: If Alford is a third string strong safety, safety depth for the Trojans is absolutely not an issue.