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Friday, April 5, 2013
Week three: Spring depth chart

By Johnny Curren

The Trojans are now in the final stretch of spring ball with just over a week of practice remaining on the schedule. As injuries continue to mount and position battles rage on, here’s how a potential depth chart just might look if one were released today.

Quarterback
Max Wittek (6-foot-4, 235 pounds, RS So.) OR Cody Kessler (6-1, 215, RS So.) OR Max Browne (6-5, 215, Fr.)
Wittek is starting to resemble his former self after returning from injury last week, and it appears that he and Kessler have separated themselves somewhat from Browne in the battle for the role as the starting quarterback. Kessler continued his string of strong play in scrimmage settings last Saturday when he completed 5 of 9 pass attempts for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

Tailback
Javorius Allen (6-1, 210, RS So.) OR Justin Davis (6-1, 215, Fr.) OR Tre Madden (6-1, 220, RS So.); D.J. Morgan (5-10, 190, RS Jr.); Silas Redd (5-10, 200, Sr.)
With Redd out for the remainder of the spring, and Morgan still sidelined with a minor knee injury, it’s safe to say the Trojans don’t have a ton of healthy bodies here. And with Madden still being withheld from contact drills, it’s really been Allen and Davis who have shouldered the bulk of the load, with the young freshman, in particular, showing some real promise in the extended opportunity as of late.

Fullback
Jahleel Pinner (5-11, 225, So.); Simione Vehikite (5-11, 225, RS Sr.); Soma Vainuku (6-0, 250, RS. So.);
In Vainuku’s absence, Pinner has made huge strides over the course of the last two weeks, drawing praise from running backs coach Tommie Robinson, who on Tuesday called the Mission Viejo (Calif.) product the unit’s most improved player of the spring.

Wide receiver
Flanker
Nelson Agholor (6-1, 185, So.); De’Von Flournoy (6-0, 185, RS Sr.)

Split end
Marqise Lee (6-0, 195, Jr.); Victor Blackwell (6-1, 190, RS So.); Darreus Rogers (6-2, 195, Fr.); George Farmer (6-1, 205, Jr.)
The wide receiver corps took a huge hit when Farmer went down on Tuesday with a torn ACL in his left knee, and it was revealed that he will miss the entire 2013 campaign. On a positive note, Lee -- the star of the group -- returned from injury on Thursday. Still, with Rogers also held out of action with a hamstring injury, the Trojans are certainly low in terms of numbers here. Fortunately for Kiffin and Co., Agholor continues to pick up the slack, standing out on a routine basis.

Tight end
Randall Telfer (6-4, 255, RS Jr.); Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (6-5, 245, So.); Xavier Grimble (6-5, 255, RS Jr.)
Even with Grimble unavailable, the USC offense continues to receive some impressive play out of this position thanks to Telfer and Cope-Fitzpatrick, and both players look ready to have big 2013 campaigns.

Offensive line
Left tackle
Aundrey Walker (6-6, 300, Jr.); Nathan Guertler (6-5, 270, RS Jr.); Chad Wheeler (6-7, 270, RS Fr.)

Left guard
Max Tuerk (6-6, 285, So.); Giovanni Di Poalo (6-4, 280, RS Jr.)

Center
Marcus Martin (6-3, 325, Jr.); Tuerk; Cyrus Hobbi (6-3, 285, RS So.)

Right guard
John Martinez (6-2, 305, RS Sr.); Jordan Simmons (6-5, 335, RS Fr.)

Right tackle
Kevin Graf (6-6, 300, RS Sr.); Zach Banner (6-9. 335, RS Fr.)
After another solid week of practice, Martin appears to have settled in nicely at the center position, and as Kiffin alluded to earlier in the week, the team could be set with him there. His primary backup, Hobbi, left practice on Thursday with an unknown injury -- a development that caused Tuerk to take reps with the second team offense at center, with Di Poalo lining up at times with the first unit at left guard.

Defensive Line
Defensive end No. 1
Leonard Williams (6-5, 270, So.); Charles Burks (6-0, 230, RS So.)

Defensive end No. 2
J.R. Tavai (6-2, 265, Jr.); Cody Temple (6-3, 285, RS So.); George Uko (6-3, 275, RS Jr.)

Nose tackle
Antwaun Woods (6-1, 305, RS. So.); Kenny Bigelow (6-3, 295, Fr.)

Linebacker
Predator OLB
Morgan Breslin (6-2, 250, Sr.); Jabari Ruffin (6-4, 230, RS Fr.)

Sam OLB
Devon Kennard (6-3, 260, RS Sr.); Kevin Greene (6-4, 255, RS Sr.); Marquis Simmons (6-1, 220, RS Sr.)
Uko was held out of Thursday’s workout with an unspecified injury, allowing Tavai -- a standout in the team’s last scrimmage -- to slide in as the temporary starter. Kennard and Breslin continue to shine on the outside.

Mike linebacker
Hayes Pullard (6-1, 235, RS Jr.); Julian Coleman (6-2, 240, RS Sr.) OR Will Andrew (6-2, 235, RS Sr.)

Will linebacker
Anthony Sarao (6-0, 215, RS So.) OR Lamar Dawson (6-2, 235, Jr.)
Pullard, who has emerged as an unquestioned leader of the defense this spring, has been steady as always, while Sarao and Dawson just keep bringing out the best in each other in the competition at the Will spot.

Safety
Free safety
Leon McQuay III (6-2, 185, Fr.); Ryan Dillard (5-10, 185, So.); Demetrius Wright (6-1, 195, Sr.)

Strong safety
Josh Shaw (6-1, 190, RS Jr.); John Auran (5-10, 195, RS Sr.); Su’a Cravens (6-3, 215, Fr.)
The Trojans secondary received some bad news this week when it was learned that early-entrant freshman Su’a Cravens -- an emerging presence at strong safety -- will miss the remainder of the spring after suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee. Wright is still out of action as well, so it’s been McQuay who has been lining up with the first unit at free safety alongside Shaw, the starting strong safety.

Cornerback
RCB
Anthony Brown (5-9, 180, RS Jr.); Ryan Henderson (5-10, 170, RS So.) OR Devian Shelton (6-2, 185, RS Fr.)

LCB
Chris Hawkins (6-0, 170, Fr.) OR Kevon Seymour (6-0, 170, So.) OR Torin Harris (6-0, 190, RS Sr.)
Seymour returned to action on Thursday after extended time away due to injury, but it was Hawkins who continued to run with the first unit at the left cornerback spot. Brown, meanwhile, has arguably been the group’s most consistent performer this spring on the right side. Harris went down with an apparent shoulder injury on Thursday -- the severity of which isn’t yet known.

Special teams
Place-kicker
Andre Heidari (5-10, 200, Jr.); Alex Wood (5-10, 175, So.)

Punter
Kris Albarado (5-10, 200, RS So.)
Heidari is entrenched as the team’s starting place-kicker, with Albarado handling the punting duties.