- Garry Paskwietz, Publisher, WeAreSC.com
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USC coach Steve Sarkisian released an end-of-spring depth chart Friday as the Trojans prepare to wrap up spring drills Saturday at the Coliseum.
There won’t be too many surprises for those who have been following the developments of the team throughout the spring. The one big announcement that needed to take place occurred on Tuesday, when Sarkisian made it official that Cody Kessler would remain as the Trojans' starting quarterback heading into the 2014 season. The remainder of the depth chart showcases a few surprising names in starting roles, as well as several positions that will remain up in the air heading into fall camp.
• The tailback rotation for Sarkisian will be interesting to watch in the fall. The naming of co-starters in Buck Allen and Tre Madden is justified, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Justin Davis added to that mix when he returns from injury in the fall.
• Nelson Agholor was arguably the best player on the field this spring. Darreus Rogers did enough to earn his spot, but George Farmer posed a nice challenge, which was one of the more positive stories of camp, as Farmer returned from injury in a strong fashion. Kudos to George Katrib, a walk-on who consistently made plays throughout spring. Will he be in that starting spot once the season rolls around? Probably not, but it’s a nice recognition for what he showed on the field.
• There were several questions answered in a good way, with a couple left to go in fall. Max Tuerk getting settled at center was a big priority. Chad Wheeler seems set at left tackle heading into his second season as a starter, and that’s not to be taken for granted. The resurgence of Zach Banner after hip surgeries was the most surprising development along the line and he is the clear starter heading into fall. Khaliel Rodgers and Toa Lobendahn performed admirably as newcomers to the lineup, but veterans Aundrey Walker and Jordan Simmons should be healthy in time for fall camp to challenge for those spots.
• A lot of guys stepped up on the defensive line this spring. Sarkisian consistently praised Antwaun Woods as one of the top performers. Claude Pelon and Delvon Simmons were counted on as veteran newcomers to contribute right away, and both look ready to go. When the Trojans get Leonard Williams back -- along with depth from guys such as Kenny Bigelow and Greg Townsend -- it should be a pretty nice rotation along the interior.
• The competition between Quinton Powell and Jabari Ruffin was the most competitive of the spring. Scott Starr is ready for a bigger role, and the versatile J.R. Tavai can play inside and outside on the line if needed.
• Josh Shaw and Su'a Cravens will step back into their starting spots when healthy, but their absence allowed guys such as Chris Hawkins, Leon McQuay and Gerald Bowman to show what they can do. All should be part of the secondary rotation in the fall.
The two-deep roster:
LG: Toa Lobendahn
MILB: Hayes Pullard, Joel Foy
Injured: Joey Augello, Anthony Brown, Su'a Cravens, Justin Davis, Lamar Dawson, Rob Dooley, Nico Falah, Ryan Henderson, Don Hill, Michael Hutchings, Robby Kolanz, Jeff Miller, Steven Mitchell, D.J. Morgan, Josh Shaw, Devian Shelton, Jordan Simmons, Shane Sullivan, Randall Telfer, Cody Temple, Soma Vainuku, Aundrey Walker, Leonard Williams
Incoming freshmen: Chris Brown, Bryce Dixon, Malik Dorton, Ajene Harris, Adoree; Jackson, Rahshead Johnson, Jonathan Lockett, Damien Mama, Uchenna Nwosu, John Plattenburg, Lamont Simmons, Juju Smith, Viane Talamaivao, Olajuwon Tucker