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USC Fall Camp: The Defensive Backs

USC's defensive backs group struggled in 2014 in large part to injuries and inexperience but return multiple starters for this season.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

USC's secondary ranked 118th in pass defense last year by allowing almost 275 passing yards per game. However, one of the strengths of the 2015 USC recruiting class was their secondary, led by Iman Marshall and Marvell Tell III. USC returns multiple players that played a significant amount last year but has to replace the team's fourth leading tackler from last year as Gerald Bowman graduated.


The most experienced defensive back on the roster is Kevon Seymour, who will start for the third straight season. Seymour had 49 tackles, one interception, and a team-high 13 pass deflections in 2014 and will be counted on to lead the group. Adoree' Jackson, who will spend the first 11 practices of fall camp with the defense, has already been named to multiple award watch lists and it's insane to think that Jackson didn't allow his first touchdown of the season last year until the Holiday Bowl. His defensive instincts are great and he excels at press coverage. Jonathan Lockett also returns and will add depth to the cornerbacks group. Lockett had five tackles in 10 games played in 2014. Now the two freshmen... Isaiah Langley was one of the top athletes coming out of high school in the Class of 2015. He could battle for the nickel corner spots. Iman "Biggie" Marshall has been mentioned as the best player to come out of Long Beach Poly. With the rich heritage at Poly, Marshall has huge shoes to fill but he has impressed in the first couple practices of fall camp. What I love about Marshall is that he will defend anyone and is phenomenal in one-on-one coverage. Marshall's nickname of "Biggie" can be associated with the fact that he is probably one of the hardest hitter's on USC's roster. We will be hearing a lot about Marshall in the coming years.


The back end of the secondary returns junior Leon McQuay III, who started in nine games last year and finished with 36 tackles and two interceptions and sophomore John Plattenburg, who played a lot in the second half of his freshman year in 2014. Plattenburg started in six of USC's final seven games and had least seven tackles in three of those seven. Plattenburg has been dealing with a hip injury early on in fall camp. Redshirt sophomore Chris Hawkins had 32 tackles and an interception in 2014 and has moved over to safety this year after playing corner last year. The move will provide more depth. True freshmen Ykili Ross and Marvell Tell III will also battle for playing time during fall camp. Ross is long and lean at 6'2", 185 pounds while Tell reminds me of a former Trojan great who loved to cover a lot of ground on the field and make a play at the line of scrimmage.

Su'a Cravens started off 2014 at the safety position before switching to the hybrid-linebacker position. Cravens said he wants to play safety in the NFL but will play whatever the coaches want him to play in college.