Amir Carlisle is turning heads

One of the great stories coming out early in training camp is the emergence of freshman running back Amir Carlisle.

USC has been practicing for only four days, but tailback Amir Carlisle is the early front-runner as the top freshman in training camp.

That, at least, is the opinion of veteran teammates who have watched Carlisle on and off the field.

On Sunday, after another three-hour workout that featured several outstanding plays by Carlisle, senior middle linebacker Chris Galippo and junior quarterback Matt Barkley both compared the 5-foot-10, 180-pound freshman to receiver Robert Woods, who earned freshman All-America honors last season.

"What made Robert Woods so special wasn't his speed and it wasn't his ability — it was just his maturity as a freshman to handle the amount of [information] load that he did," Galippo said. "Amir has that same maturity."

With scholarships at a premium over the next few seasons USC can't miss. Carlisle is already showing promise!

With Marc Tyler out for the near future, the competition is seen to be between D.J. Morgan, Curtis McNeal and Dillon Baxter. Carlisle adds another option to the mix.

On a roster that has some depth issues, the running back spot like the wide receiver spot has plenty of depth...but the depth is still a little raw and inexperienced.

Though it is still early yet, based on what I have read, we are seeing just how well the coaching staff recruited knowing what was ahead.

Running back Curtis McNeal slipped through a crease in the left side of the line and quickly turned the ball upfield on USC's first play of full-squad work Sunday afternoon.

After eluding several defenders, the junior tailback broke away, displaying the kind of speed that could help him win a large chunk of suspended starter Marc Tyler's carries.

More than an hour later, freshman Amir Carlisle, whom Coach Lane Kiffin said "continues to stand out every day," burst through a hole in the middle and split the safeties en route to another long run.

It seemed befitting that with four backs – McNeal, Carlisle, Dillon Baxter and D.J. Morgan – all vying for playing time and all rotating from play-to-play that there was little separation between them.

A notable moment for one of them, somewhat led to another.

I have to admit, I am pretty excited with the possibilities going forward.

It would appear these guys will push one another this season. That bodes well as these will want to grasp every aspect of the game. Some of them will sit and will play at various times this season but for now their attitudes seem to be in the right place.

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