WR Joseph Lewis
The Trojans lost wide receivers Juju Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers, as well as occasional offensive contributor Adoree’ Jackson to the NFL, leaving them without some of their most dangerous playmakers from last season. Despite a solid core of returning receivers including Steven Mitchell Jr., Jalen Greene, and Deontay Burnett, there is still an opening for Joseph Lewis to contribute right from the start of the USC career.
Lewis came out of Augustus F. Hawkins High School as the No. 1 wide receiver and No. 16 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, providing a promising combination of size and speed. Lewis is a slightly taller and lighter version of Juju, and has very similar testing results out of high school to Smith-Schuster’s results from the NFL Combine.
USC football faces extremely high expectations next season, with quarterback Sam Darnold gaining traction as an early Heisman front-runner and potential first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and the Trojans getting picked by analysts as a potential College Football Playoff team. USC will need production from every one of their skill positions if they hope to perform up to these expectations, and Lewis can serve as an option to either get behind the opposing secondary for a big play or battle with defenders for jump balls in the endzone.
If Lewis can establish himself early on as one of Darnold’s most dangerous targets, he can add his name to the list of the great USC receivers of this decade, a list that includes Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor, and Smith-Schuster. Lewis can also emerge as a reliable target for whichever quarterback ends up succeeding Darnold after this season (assuming he declares for the draft) and serve as head coach Clay Helton’s No. 1 receiving option for the next three years.