USC football found itself mentioned five times on ESPN's top 100 players for 2022 list. Five players from this 2022 USC squad are in the top 100 of the country according to the network. Is that a lot? Well, it most certainly is. To put it in perspective, five is the same amount that Ohio State (ranked No. 2 in the nation in the Preseason AP Poll) has.
Also, look at the Pac-12 favorite Utah Utes. They had just two(!) players on the list. The fake blueblood Oregon Ducks had just one. USC is well ahead of their competitors when it comes to top front-end talent. The five players were Jordan Addison (No. 9), Caleb Williams (No. 10), Travis Dye (No. 56), Andrew Vorhees (No. 81), and Mario Williams (No. 100).
Here's a list of schools with two players in the top 10: Alabama, Georgia, and USC. So, the two teams coming off of the National Championship and USC. This is pretty great company to be in. As for the top players on this list, ESPN is VERY high on Addison in their piece:
"Addison was the addition who seemed to swing USC from being dangerous this coming season to potentially being a problem for teams beyond the Pac-12. Can a wide receiver add that much value? It's hard to argue that he can't given he was the best wideout in the country and is about to play in a better offense and with a better quarterback. One thing USC hasn't lacked even during its down years is elite wide receiver talent -- JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Pittman, Drake London. None of them, however, won a Biletnikoff like Addison just did."- ESPN
USC football is in great hands with many elite players for 2022.
One of the interesting things about ESPN's article is that when they talked about Caleb, it really wasn't just about what he does on the field. Throwing for 9.1 yards per pass attempt and running for 5.6 yards per rush attempt as a true freshman was mighty impressive, sure, but they're also more than impressed with how he handled his high profile this offseason:
"What Williams can do on the field is evident. But perhaps his biggest strength is the fact that the heightened hype around him doesn't seem to make him uncomfortable. USC has been missing a player with -- and this is meant as a compliment -- this kind of irrational confidence. If his game matches it this season, he can single-handedly will this team to not just relevance, but success."- ESPN
It's also easy to like what they see in Dye, too. After all, he did lead the Pac-12 in scrimmage yards last season (1,673 yards). It's why it's so perfect that he's on the right side of the Pac-12 now, and choosing the better program over seven billion uniform combinations. Dye knows what's best for him, and ESPN knows why USC is best for Dye:
"Through injuries and inconsistent quarterback play, Dye was Oregon's metronome last season. Now at USC this year, Dye will be an ideal No. 1 back as a runner and a pass-catcher. And though he's a classic example of substance over flash, it feels like there's a more explosive version of him that could be unlocked by playing in a Lincoln Riley offense next to Caleb Williams."- ESPN
ESPN also loved Andrew Vorhees' experience, and that's a very valid point. Vorhees has been here since Sam Darnold was the quarterback. He's protected many QBs and RBs from vicious hits, and has grown into an excellent player at both Left Guard AND Left Tackle. Only allowing one sack last year, one last elite season is in store for the top interior offensive lineman in the nation.
"An Associated Press third-team All-American last season, this is the sixth straight season Vorhees has entered with a role for the Trojans (he received a medical redshirt for the 2019 season). With 44 appearances, he's one of the most experienced players in college football and will play a key role on the offensive line for USC."- ESPN
And last but most CERTAINLY not least, it's important to include Mario on these lists. Mario had more catches last year for Lincoln Riley and the Oklahoma offense than even Caleb's No. 1 receiver there: Marvin Mims.
Mario had 35 catches for 380 yards and reeled in four touchdowns as just a true freshman. He's going to pop off this year now that he gets a full year with Caleb and another year with Riley calling plays for him.
"Part of the Oklahoma-to-USC convoy, Williams was named to ESPN.com's true freshman All-American team last season after catching 35 passes for 380 yards with four touchdowns for the Sooners. His knowledge of the offense and relationship with QB Caleb Williams should result in a big season in the Pac-12."- ESPN
This offense is loaded. Having five of the best 100 players in football and two of the top 10, USC is going to win any shootout they participate in this year. In classic Riley fashion, he'll lead his offense to being one of the best in the nation for a sixth straight year (six for six). ESPN's ranking goes to show that he absolutely has the talent to do it.