USC receivers used to have size, with names like Mike Williams, Dwayne Jarrett, and even Patrick Turner coming to mind. But these past few years, a new prototype was established, with guys like Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, and Nelson Agholor coming into the fold. The latter three aren't small by any means, but they definitely lack a certain physical presence on the outside that any team would love to have.
That could all change with the arrival of Isaac Whitney from Riverside Community College, who is a rare physical specimen.
Here's his available tape:
The things that stand out right off the bat are his size and speed. He uses his body well to shield off defenders and gets upfield in a hurry. Still, he doesn't seem to have much experience dealing with press coverage, which is something he'll have to learn as he plays at higher levels.
Whitney didn't do it a lot, but he seems to be a willing hands catcher (as opposed to a body catcher), which is important for a couple reasons which I'll get to. Here's an example (sorry for the bad/cut-off camera angle):
You can see Whitney high-pointing the ball here, extending his arms upward and catching it using only his hands. This is a crucial skill for receivers to master because 1) it is the most sure-handed way of catching a ball (letting the ball get into your body means you have less control over it, and it has the potential to bounce off), and 2) it widens a quarterback's room for error, as well as maximizes the receiver's catch radius and allows them to make contested catches against good defense like this:
Again, while Isaac Whitney's pure physical attributes were on display on his game tape, he wasn't really ever put in a position to make difficult catches in-game nor was he asked to run more than a slant or go route. His route-running ability and catch consistency are therefore still relative mysteries, but he certainly has potential.
If Whitney can show he can do the little things (i.e. get off press coverage, run good routes, catch consistently), he has the potential to be one of the best, if not the best, receivers on the Trojans' roster next season. He'll be a lethal deep threat right off the bat, and has the strength and speed to be dominant in the quick passing game on yards-after-catch too, which is ever-important in Steve Sarkisian's offense.
Still, Whitney will have to prove he has mastered the finer points of the game first. Those details kept guys like Dwayne Jarrett and Mike Williams from having long NFL careers, and they're important.
Isaac Whitney is a very intriguing prospect who should at least be fun to watch as a Trojan. With Nelson Agholor leaving for the NFL, there is a void at starting receiver that Whitney could very easily fill.