With National Signing day just around the corner (literally), fans of the USC Trojans are eagerly anticipating the decision of recruit Jason Hatcher, amongst others. While this is the time for recruiting speculation and news, the 2013 season will shape up with a bevy of experienced players taking the lead.
From star receiver Marqise Lee to sophomore Nelson Agholor, the Trojan offense needs to step up and fire off touchdowns much more efficiently than it did in 2012.
The loss of wide receiver Robert Woods, QB Matt Barkley and center Khaled Holmes will certainly be felt, but there is plenty of talent on the USC bench to fill those slots and more.
The most worrying losses are center and quarterback, but those issues should resolve themselves this spring as Max Browne battles it out with Max Wittek and Cody Kessler for the starting QB job.
The guy snapping the ball may actually be more of a concern, with Cyrus Hobbi not garnering a ton of confidence after his performance versus Stanford in 2012. What Trojan fans need to remember, of course, is that Hobbi was highly recruited and ranked. After a number of years in Lane Kiffin’s system it is now or never for him. After all, there are new Trojans aching to claim a starting job, and even veterans will have to battle for their positions.
Other than the Heisman Trophy, there were few honors Lee wasn’t in consideration for in 2012. He is USC’s first Biletnikoff winner—surprising given the school's long history of standout receivers. Expect Lee to come out firing on all cylinders in 2013. He will be chasing not just the record books, not just the Heisman, but also setting the stage for his potential 2014 NFL draft.
He will need to put up big numbers to avoid the same kind of “he’s fallen off” chatter that plagued Robert Woods in his junior season after an outstanding sophomore outing.
What hasn’t been said about Lee? And what further accolades will we heap on this young man next season? Shall we take bets on how many touchdowns he has? How many kickoff returns he goes 80, 90 and 100 yards to deliver?
Lee has a lot of expectation on his shoulders heading into 2013. Is he ready for it?
Nelson Agholor showed Trojan fans what he was made of in USC’s 62-51 loss to Oregon last season. In that contest he caught six passes for 162 yards and a touchdown as a true freshman.
Just about every time Agholor took the field in 2012, Trojan fans were treated to a show. The knowledge that Agholor waited in the wings to take the flanker job helped sooth the potential for Woods to leave via the NFL Draft.
Agholor should have a breakout season in 2013, provided Lane Kiffin’s mercurial play calling goes his way.
Silas Redd, the Penn State transfer running back, did some good things in 2012, but maybe not as many as most Trojans would have liked. With a full year to ease into Lane Kiffin’s system and given the talent Redd exhibited under Joe Paterno as a Nittany Lion, it isn’t hard to imagine that Redd’s best Trojan season will start to unfold on a humid August night in Honolulu.
Redd figures to be the undisputed featured back in 2013.