Every year there are a few players who breakout. There are those that finally reach their potential, and others that burst onto the scene. Here are five players that have the opportunity to breakout in 2016:
TE, Daniel Imatorbhebhe
USC intend to involve their tight ends in the offense much more in 2016, and 6ft 4" 225lb Daniel Imatorbhebhe will be a key component. The sophomore sat out last season due to NCAA rules after he transferred from Florida, but he is already beginning to make his presence felt -- in the spring game he caught 5 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Taylor McNamara is the current starter and a much more polished run blocker, but Imatorbhebhe’s athletism will give him plenty of opportunities to contribute in the passing game.
DT, Rasheem Green
Green, a former five-star recruit, will occupy the same position that former Trojan and current New York Jet Leonard Williams played during Pendergast’s last stint with USC in 2013. Williams excelled in this scheme -- 73 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks – and Green will be given every opportunity to do the same.
RB, Dominic Davis
USC has a embarrassment of riches at running back with Ronald Jones, Justin Davis, Aca’Cedric Ware and Dominic Davis. While the bulk of the carries will go to Jones and Justin Davis, Dominic Davis has shown enough explosiveness in the spring – 8 carries 45 yards in the spring game -- that the USC coaches need to find a way to get the ball in his hands; either with trickery or direct hand offs.
WR, Darreus Rogers
JuJu Smith-Schuster is without doubt USC’s top wide receiver, but the USC offense needs to avoid being too one dimensional with their targets in 2016 – in 2015, Smith-Schuster had 1,040 more receiving yards than the next receiver, accounting for 39% of USC’s total passing yards. With a new quarterback at the helm for the first time in Rogers’ USC career, and a target on Smith-Schuster’s back, Rogers could be poised for a breakout year.
SS, Marvel Tell III
As a true freshman last season Tell showed a lot of promise. He appeared in all of the first seven games before he broke his collarbone against Utah. Tell was one of the few healthy safeties during the spring, and took a firm hold of the starting strong safety position. In 2013, converted linebacker Dion Bailey thrived in the current 5-2 defensive system, which asks the strong safety to contribute both in the box and in space. There will likely be a period of adjustment as he gets used to his increased responsibilities, but Tell has all the athletic skills to star in this position.