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Friday, February 8, 2013
Early look: 2013 offensive depth chart

By Johnny Curren

Max Wittek
Max Wittek should enter spring ball as the No. 1 QB, but there will be serious competition.

With signing day now in the books, here’s a look at where the current USC depth chart might stand on the offensive side of the ball with the new additions factored in.

Quarterback
Max Wittek (6-4, 235, RS So.) OR
Cody Kessler (6-1, 215, RS So.) OR
Max Browne (6-5, 215, Fr.).

The Trojans will hold an open audition this spring for the role of starting quarterback, a battle that likely will continue into the fall. With two starts under his belt, Wittek has to be considered the favorite, but Kessler -- a gritty gamer who threw for more than 2,800 yards as a senior in high school -- is right on his heels.

And then there's Browne, the 2012-13 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year. How well he adjusts to the mental demands and increased speed of the college game likely will determine if he can make a legitimate run at the No. 1 spot.

Running Back
Silas Redd (5-10, 200, Sr.)
D.J. Morgan (5-10, 190, RS Jr.) OR
Tre Madden (6-1, 220, RS So.) OR
Javorius Allen (6-1, 210, RS. So.) OR
Justin Davis (6-1, 215, Fr.) OR
Ty Isaac (6-2, 217, Fr.).

The addition of Davis and Isaac bolsters a running back unit that all of a sudden has a lot more bodies to depend on than it did in 2012. Redd -- who rushed for a team-best 905 yards on the ground this past fall -- is the unquestioned workhorse of the group, with Morgan and Madden also factoring into the equation.

Davis, a north-south runner with speed and power, currently is on campus to provide a nice complement in the spring, and Isaac's arrival in the summer will give the Trojans a highly touted back with unique size. Both freshmen have the talent to shoot right up the depth-chart, potentially to the No. 2 spot behind Redd.

Fullback
Soma Vainuku (6-0, 250, RS So.) OR
Jahleel Pinner (5-11, 225, So.)
Hunter Simmons (6-1, 250, RS Sr.) OR
Charles Burks (6-0, 230, RS So.)

Without any additions, the fullback position likely will look almost identical to the way it did in 2012 in terms of personnel. Vainuku, who started for a majority of the season as a redshirt freshman, provides a sturdy presence as a lead blocker. Pinner came on strong at the end of the year, however, and if he develops as a threat with the ball in his hands, he could challenge Vainuku for playing time.

Wide Receiver
Flanker
Darreus Rogers
Darreus Rogers couldn't join the Trojans last fall, but he's enrolled now and could be a valuable addition.
Marqise Lee (6-0, 195, Jr.)
Nelson Agholor (6-1, 180, So.)
De'Von Flournoy (6-0, 180 RS Sr.) OR
Steven Mitchell (5-11, 176, Fr.)

Split End
Nelson Agholor (6-1, 180, So.)
George Farmer (6-1, 205 Jr.) OR
Victor Blackwell (6-1, 190, RS So.) OR
Darreus Rogers (6-2, 195, Fr.)

With Robert Woods now ready to make his mark in the NFL, the Trojans will look for a receiver to complement Lee, the 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner. Right now, that looks like a two-man race between Agholor and Farmer, with the former holding an edge headed into spring ball.

Mitchell arrives in the summer and gives the Trojans a much different option as a precision route runner with gamebreaking skills. Rogers is currently enrolled, and with a large frame and big-play ability of his own, he could be the wild card of the group.

Tight End
Xavier Grimble (6-5, 260, RS Jr.) OR
Randall Telfer (6-4, 255, RS Jr.)
Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (6-5, 250, So.) OR
Junior Pomee (6-3, 255, RS So.) OR
Christian Thomas (6-3, 250, RS Jr.)

This is another position group largely unaffected by the incoming recruiting class. Grimble and Telfer figure to get the lion's share of reps at the tight end spot once again. Cope-Fitzpatrick is a promising looking prospect in his own right, while Thomas has been bogged down by injuries but has shown flashes when healthy. Pomee's future is somewhat up in the air, as he has been removed from all team activities for the time being after a recent arrest.

Offensive Line
RT Kevin Graf (6-6, 295, RS Sr.)
Zach Banner (6-9, 335, RS Fr.) OR
Nathan Guertler (6-5, 270, RS Jr.)
Nico Falah (6-4, 267, Fr.)

RG John Martinez (6-2, 300, RS Sr.)
Jordan Simmons (6-5, 335, RS Fr.)
Khaliel Rodgers (6-2, 323, Fr.)

C Marcus Martin (6-3, 325, Jr.)
Cyrus Hobbi (6-3, 290, RS So.) OR
Khaliel Rodgers (6-2, 323, Fr.)

LG Max Tuerk (6-6, 285, So.)
Jordan Simmons (6-5, 335, RS Fr.) OR
Giovanni Di Poalo (6-4, 290, RS Jr.) OR
Khaliel Rodgers (6-2, 323, Fr.)

LT Aundrey Walker (6-6, 300, Jr.)
Zach Banner (6-9, 335, RS Fr.) OR
Chad Wheeler (6-7, 265, RS Fr.)
Nico Falah (6-4, 267, Fr.)

Both Falah and Rodgers figure to add depth, more than anything else, along the offensive line, as it traditionally is difficult to make an impact as a freshman here. Graf and Martinez look like good bets to hold down the right side of the line for the third year in a row. Martin was moved to center during bowl game practices with an eye toward next season, so he has to factor in as the starter at this point. Tuerk looks more than capable of staying on as the starting left guard after starring in the Sun Bowl at the position. At left tackle, Walker figures to face stiff competition from Banner and Wheeler, among others, unless Tuerk ultimately slides back to man the spot. In that scenario, look for Simmons to garner serious consideration at left guard.