Saturday marked the opening of fall camp at USC, a marathon of a day for the players that started with early morning meetings and culminated in the team’s first practice.
But for sophomore cornerback Kevon Seymour, that 12-hour day still wasn’t enough. While the majority of the team was walking off Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field toward the locker room, he was working on breaking on slant routes and picking off passes that were being thrown by walk-on quarterback Chris Willson.
“There are things that I need to work on, like catching balls and a lot of other things, so that’s what I was doing,” Seymour said. “Today I missed some assignments, or I was on my assignments but I felt like I could have done better, so I wanted to get some extra work in to see how it felt to do it right – to jump in front of a slant. I felt like I needed that, so that when I come out tomorrow, I’m on it.”
It’s that will to continually elevate the level of his game that has helped establish Seymour as one of the headliners in the competition for one of the two starting cornerback spots – a position of major concern for USC coach Lane Kiffin in the spring.
Hobbled with turf toe during the latter half of those March and April practices – and even during the early portion of the summer – Seymour eventually healed and ultimately worked himself into the best shape of his Trojans career, a fact that was noticeable on Saturday. Running primarily with the first-team defense opposite Anthony Brown, there were flashes when he showcased the quick hips and cover skills that made him such a prized recruit coming out of Pasadena (Calif.) Muir as a member of the Trojans’ 2012 recruiting class.
“I can definitely feel a difference from the spring,” said Seymour, who stands 6-foot tall and weighed in at 184 pounds. “I put in the extra work to get to 100 percent, and now I’m to that point, so I’m just making progress every day and making a point of being there for my teammates.”
For a USC team that lacked consistent production at cornerback in recent seasons, that’s welcome news. And while the group – comprised of Seymour, Brown, Torin Harris, Devian Shelton, Ryan Henderson and Chris Hawkins – has been heavily scrutinized, Seymour believes every player is more than ready to step up to the challenge this season.
“We’re all healthy, so we’re all competing and it’s making us all better,” Seymour said. “Our defense, we trust each other. We’re not worried. We’re confident in the abilities of everybody. We focus on our main goal, not just to win games, but to come together and play as a team. We feel like we have all the talent that we need.”
And with the work ethic that Seymour put on display Saturday, there’s reason to believe he just might have a point.
“I definitely see this as a golden opportunity,” Seymour said. “My goal is just to get better every day. I have to get better every day. I don’t want to ever take any steps back.”