How should USC football use Drake London in 2021?

USC football receiver Drake London.
USC football receiver Drake London. / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

USC football is replacing two of their top three receivers from 2020, so getting the most out of Drake London is vital to success in 2021.

If you're not excited to see Drake London in 2021, then you may need to reevaluate the way you watch USC football.

No player, not even Kedon Slovis, brings the kind of thrill to the table that London has with every touch of the ball.

How will USC get the most out of him this season?

USC football is getting ready to shake up Drake London's role

The Trojan coaches have talked about deploying the junior receiver on the outside at times, shifting his role somewhat from the previous two seasons. Is that a good idea?

To get a better idea of all the ways USC used Drake London to exploit defenses in 2020, start by watching this video from The Coordinator Project:

The thing USC needs to avoid is moving London for the sake of moving him. Amon-Ra St. Brown was a more dangerous weapon when he worked inside. While he still got the job done outside in 2020, he was less effective.

London has dominated as an inside receiver thanks to natural and manufactured mismatches. Just as important, he opened opportunities for the rest of USC's receivers. Those will materialize less often if London is on the outside.

Of course, the reality is USC has to replace dangerous weapons like St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns. Since London is the best returning receiver, he'll obviously be the focal point wherever he lines up.

Ideally, USC won't need to use London outside to make up for the absence of St. Brown and Vaughns. A best-case scenario would involve Bru McCoy and another receiver, whether Kyle Ford, K.D. Nixon, Gary Bryant Jr. or someone else, emerging and locking down those snaps. The Trojans have some great candidates. They need to sort through them to find the most effective playmakers.

If there are hiccups on the outside, the question then becomes how can USC fill the gap left by London? Does USC have a tight end capable of challenging defenses in the passing game? Jude Wolfe and Ethan Rae have yet to prove they have that skillset while Josh Falo's injury history shouldn't fill anyone with confidence.

Perhaps a new face like Michael Trigg or Lake McRee is the answer? They were recruited for the Air Raid attack after all.

The Trojans may try to flummox opposing defenses by moving London around the formation, but they must guard against getting too fancy with their 6-foot-5 receiver on the cusp of stardom if they don't have to.

Next. Is USC's Left Tackle Question Already Answered?. dark