Wednesday, Brett Neilon, the fourth-best center in the nation according to multiple recruiting services, committed to the Trojans.
With this commitment, the Trojan 2017 class ranks No. 29 nationally and No. 3 in the Pac-12 per the 247Sports Team Rankings. Aside from all the numbers, the commitment of Neilon is a big boost to the program as they look to soar to new heights under coach Clay Helton.
With that in mind, what can he bring to the Trojans upon his arrival to campus? A versatile athlete, Neilon measures in at 6-foot-2, 285 pounds. One of the things that I noticed right away when watching his film was his blocking ability, particularly his play as soon as the ball was snapped. He extended his arms and overpowered his man.
His size is something that could benefit the program, particularly if they want to establish the running game. Oftentimes, you see that aggressive blocking trait in offensive linemen, so adding Neilon is especially beneficial in that regard.
In terms of what he brings to the table in the passing game, he is very good at making lead blocks especially on screens. He is able to get off his man quickly, set his feet, square up, and make the play. If a running back gets to the open field on a screen, Neilon is able to follow behind the back, and create room for yards after the catch by making timely blocks. With USC’s speed at the running back position, this could translate into huge gains for the offense.
One of Neilon’s major assets is his ability to block in the trenches, especially in a goal line formation. Using that size, he is able to overpower his man and does a great job of getting his feet square and shifting his weight in order to make the play. That should bode well for USC’s offense as the running backs could really establish themselves as a prominent threat in the red zone, giving the Trojans a two-pronged offensive attack.
It seems as though this commitment is continuing with USC’s strategy to continuing to develop a strong offensive line. USC rolls out a veteran group this year, and this pledge potentially means that there will not be a major dropoff in production once the core group graduates.
You can check out Neilon's 2015 highlights from hudl.com:
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