The season is set to begin next month, but for the USC Trojans, getting back to the practice field means getting a look at one of the country’s top receiving corps.
Entering this shortened seven-game season with Tyler Vaughns, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Drake London and a talented duo of potential stars in Gary Bryant Jr. and Bru McCoy, the Trojans are about as top-loaded as any receiving room in America.
USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell opened up after practice this week about what he’s seen so far from his two young receivers in Bryant and McCoy.
“They’ve been explosive, you know. Gary, we’ve moved around, and he’s done a lot of good things. He’s really had a good few days of practice. And Bru is still working into it. But when he’s in there, he’s different. He’s very explosive. He’s hard to cover because not only is he explosive, but he’s also very strong and big, you know, so he’s a fun guy to have out there,” he said. “And they’re gonna have to play big roles for us. So we really need them to, like I said, continue to improve, continue to grow. The more and more comfortable they get, I think that obviously you’ll see less and less hesitation and they’ll become better and better every day. And so those two have a lot of talent. And I think that they’re gonna contribute a lot for us.”
McCoy, of course, famously missed all of last season after his recruiting and transfer process debacle. Then, this summer, he battled that mysterious illness and was held out of any sort of practices until late in the year in 2019. When asked about what he’s seen specifically in McCoy, Harrell doubled down on his positivity about the young star in the making.
“For sure. He has more confidence. And like I said, the more practice we get in, I think the more and more confident he’s going to play. I think he understands a sense of urgency. You know, during the fall practices, he’s just kind of working back into it. And now that there’s an obvious sense of urgency because the season is right around the corner and we need him to contribute,” he said. “So I think he understands that. And again, he does really good things. He needs reps and that’s what we’re trying to get him right now...he’s making some really impressive plays up there now. He’s doing some great things and he’s going to help us.”
As nice as it is to have young guns in McCoy and Bryant as potential big-play threats, the fact is, the injury to Kyle Ford actually leaves what could be looked at as one of the nation’s best WR rooms a little thin. Sure, St. Brown and Vaughns are as good of duo as any in the country and London broke out last year, but Ford’s injury hurts depth and Munir McClain is currently serving a suspension.
That leaves just John Jackson III and early enrollee Josh Jackson Jr. as the rest of the scholarship players at the position.
“They’ve been good when they’ve been healthier, but we’ve got a few guys coming back that’ve obviously have played a lot of football. And then we’ve got, on that receiving core, some young guys that haven’t played a ton of football, but have a whole lot of talent. So that’s what’s exciting and those guys really got to come along because we need depth. And you can see that, just in the first few days of practice,” said Harrell on Tuesday. “You know, like I said, we’ve got some guys that’ve played a ton football and are doing some really good things. And they get opportunities and so they just have to keep going along. Obviously, when it’s your first practice or your first lot of practices, there’s gonna be some mistakes and then we have some busts, but we’ve been through our first three days or install now we’re just repeating over and over and over and getting really good at it. It’s a benefit for those two guys and really all the youngsters...”
And that’s when Harrell opened up about Bryant and McCoy.
It looks as if the duo of Bryant and McCoy will absolutely see the field a ton this year, especially given this year is free from using a year of eligibility. We’ve seen it across the nation, a lot of players are seeing more action in depth roles, getting a taste of major college football in a year that they won’t burn eligibility.
Safe to say we’ll finally get our first significant taste of Bru McCoy.
And that should be fun.