Malcolm Epps was everywhere that it mattered for USC football in Week 3 against Fresno State. The USC Tight End caught two passes in the end zone for USC. Surprisingly, though, the first one wasn't a touchdown. It was--believe it or not--an interception. USC put him in on the hands team for Fresno State's Hail Mary attempt as time in the first half expired, and he came down with a beautiful pick.
It made two catches for him on the season, but of course just one counting as a reception with the other as an interception. That changed quickly. Once Epps found the end zone later in the game, it marked a catch for him both on defense and on offense in the same game. Not just on the season. It was the second straight week where USC had a tight end catch a touchdown pass.
Last year, the tight end room struggled. Then, Michael Trigg transferred this offseason, and it was unclear how productive the TE group would be this season. Lincoln Riley has had success with tight ends in the past (enter Mark Andrews), but would he have the 'dudes' to feature them as a prominent part of the offense with all the competition they'll have from the receivers for targets?
The USC football tight end crew has flashed these last two weeks, though, and Malcolm Epps has in particular.
Sure, USC football's tight ends only accounted for one catch and nine yards in Week 1, with Malcolm Epps not getting any receptions. Last week, though, things improved. The tight end position progressed to three catches for 17 yards. Epps had a catch for four yards, and upgraded that catch this week from a four-yard gain to a 10 yard touchdown.
It's just one touchdown in each of these last two weeks, but again, when USC has a plethora of four-star receivers on the bench, it goes to show that there's too much receiver talent to expect a ton of yardage from the tight ends. The fact that they've gotten in on scores in these last two weeks just goes to show that they still have what it takes to contribute if needed.
They're even getting in on defense when needed. It's nice to see positive developments from the position. That wasn't happening in Graham Harrell's offense. Things were bound to improve under Riley there, and they most certainly have.