USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) June 1, 2015
Preseason prognosticator Phil Steele unveiled his All-American Team yesterday and four Trojans made the list. To the surprise of many outside the West Coast, Cody Kessler was named Steele's 1st team quarterback over more nationally known QBs like Michigan State's Connor Cook, TCU's Trevone Boykin, and the Ohio State triumvirate of Barrett/Miller/Jones.
Nationally, Kessler ranked 11th in passing yards, 4th in TDs, and 4th in passing efficiency last season, but his biggest hurdle in 2015 will be trying to put up equal or better numbers after losing so many weapons in the offseason (65% of his completions and yardage, 59% of his touchdowns are gone from 2014).
Center Max Tuerk was the only other Trojan to make Steele's 1st team. An All-Pac-12 1st teamer in 2014, Tuerk has settled in nicely to the center position after playing all over the offensive line in his first two seasons. Barring injury, Max is a sure thing to be a Rimington Trophy finalist in 2015.
On the defensive side of the ball, both Adoree' Jackson and Su'a Cravens were named to the 2nd team at CB and LB respectively. As good as they are, it's not entirely surprising to see them on the 2nd team given that both of their positions are stacked with elite talent. Adoree' was also named to the 2nd team in the special teams portion as a kick returner after averaging nearly 30 yards a return in 2014.
It is a little surprising that Juju Smith's name is nowhere to be found, especially since Steele considers Kessler to be the best quarterback in the country and Cody will likely rely heavily on Smith throughout the year. But these lists are just a fun way to build some old fashioned hype and excitement for the upcoming college football season anyway.
Speaking of, only 95 days until Arkansas State...