Center Brett Neilon has submitted his letter of intent to the USC Trojans today officially making him a Trojan and improving upon a solid offensive line. Neilon is rated as a 4-Star player (out of 5) and 247 sports ranks him as the 2nd best center in the entire country. Neilon, unsurprisingly had offers from many teams including the UCLA Bruins, Washington Huskies, Stanford Cardinal, Colorado Buffaloes, and several more. The 6’ 2”, 280 pound prospect is from Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.
Trojans head coach Clay Helton routinely emphasizes offensive balance and be able to effectively run the ball when everyone in the stadium knows you are going to run the ball in order to win ball games. Achieving this goal requires the Trojans winning the line of scrimmage and an elite talent like Neilon will obviously help them achieve this goal.
Neilon joins a Trojans roster that has repeatedly suffered major injuries at the center position. Two seasons ago USC was down to using their 4th string center Nico Falah who moved over from tackle. In the 2016 season starter Toa Lobendahn went down for the season and Falah once again stepped in. For the 2017 season however the Trojans will have 4 quality players at the position.
This season the Trojans will have Lobendahn, Falah, and Cole Smith also on the depth chart. Lobendahn will be a senior and Falah will be a redshirt senior during the 2017 season leaving the position with just Cole and Neilon on the depth chart following 2017. The Trojans may still want to get another center in the 2018 recruiting cycle.
“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.”