The tight end position has been one of the biggest story lines for USC since spring practice. Bryce Dixon left the Trojans in May but is now in the process of attempting to return to USC. Dixon had 14 receptions for 198 yards and four touchdowns in 2014, but can he get the green light and return in time for the upcoming season?
Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick missed the first day of fall camp yesterday as he is still not academically eligible for this season after missing last year with the same issue. Cope-Fitzpatrick finishes summer school on Tuesday.
Both players would be a huge boost for the Trojans but let's look at the guys that we know will be on the team this season:
Cyrus Hobbi is back, this time as a tight end. Hobbi retired from football in 2013 with an injury and has dropped a substantial amount of weight since he was a backup offensive lineman two years ago. Hobbi probably won't provide much in the passing game but could be in the game when the Trojans have their goal-line and short yardage packages in.
Taylor McNamara has arrived on campus after transferring from Oklahoma and is eligible immediately. McNamara was buried on the Sooners depth chart and had only one reception for four yards in three seasons in Norman. At 6'5", 245 pounds, McNamara could be a surprise in camp and work is way into the rotation.
After transferring from Columbia and sitting out the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Connor Spears worked with the first-team offense during spring ball and impressed with his hands and work ethic. A walk-on, Spears has an advantage over most of the current tight ends on the roster as he knows the playbook and has developed a relationship with quarterback Cody Kessler.
The two freshman that will be competing for playing time at tight end are Tyler Petite and Caleb Wilson. Petite originally committed to Duke before switching his commitment to the Trojans last December and was one of the best TE's coming out of high school. Petite is a superb route runner with great hands and I expect him to play a lot this season. He is not the best blocker but will be a great asset to the passing game plan. Caleb Wilson originally committed to USC to play quarterback but has decided to play tight end. Wilson played a little tight end at Serra High School. He is the son of defensive line coach Chris Wilson.