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Trojans lose star RB Ronald Jones II, but have A LOT to look forward to with the start of the season in sight

2016-17 True-Freshman Stephen Carr celebrates in the end zone after scoring 1 of his 2 touchdowns of the game against Western Michigan

While USC loses their first-team All-Pac-12 running back star, Ronald Jones II to the NFL, more specifically to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Trojans should be confident in their young, but talented running backs going forward.

Before I break down the studs in SC’s depth chart, I would like to introduce you (Trojan fans and college football fans alike) to the new running back coach and pass protection coordinator for 2018: Tim Drevno.

Tim isn’t completely new to this Trojans squad though. He actually served as assistant coach back in 2014. If you followed the USC team back then, you may remember Javorius Allen who gathered more than 1,000 yards that season. That team as a whole had around 2,000 total yards, which definitely isn’t too shabby.

The past 3 seasons Tim Drevno worked for Big-Ten powerhouse Michigan Wolverines as the offensive coordinator. The offensive numbers there speak for themselves...Each of those 3 seasons under Drevno, Michigan’s offense piled on over 2,000 yards and in 2016 the offense was ranked 11th nationally in scoring. They recorded over 40 points in a stunning 7 games that season! Talk about fire power.

That’s not all for Drevno’s resumé. He even has experience in the NFL, serving as the San Francisco 49er’s offensive line coach from 2011-2013. Those 49er’s teams’ were filled with Pro-Bowlers and even made deep runs in the playoffs the first 2 years under Drevno. In 2012 the 49er’s won the NFC Championship and a big reason was due to Drevno’s leadership.

Now to the Depth Chart:

At the top of the chart there is Stephen Carr (Sophomore) who looked very solid in his first season with the team. In 2017 he recorded 3 touchdowns, averaging 5.8 yards per carry, 53.2 yards per game, and 319 total yards. Not bad for the rookie. Carr aims to get healthy before the start of the season after sitting out of Spring Camp with a herniated disc. While I am no expert on the matter, depending on how bad the injury is I’d say those type of injuries take anywhere from 6 weeks to a couple of months to heal. Let’s pray he stays healthy because if he does he could be a serious threat in the backfield.

Next is Aca’Cedric Ware (Senior) who is trying to rebound after a rough season outside of his stellar performance against Arizona at home where he posted a monster 122 yards. If he can stay healthy during the year and channel his skill that he clearly showed he has from that Arizona game then I strongly believe he can have a very respectable senior season. I also feel like either way, with his senior leadership that he will have an impact in the locker room as he will be able to mentor the younger guys like Carr, Markese Stepp, and Vavae Malepeai.

The next back on the depth chart is Vavae Malepeai (Redshirt Sophomore). His carries were limited last season as he was the third go-to option behind Jones and Carr. With that being said he did put up 261 total yards at 5.33 yards per carry which is very efficient. I think he has tremendous upside and has the potential to post a monster season.

Last on the depth chart is Markese Stepp (Freshman). This 4-star recruit is BUILT. He already weighs 228 pounds, which makes him by far the biggest running back the Trojans have. That will make him incredibly valuable in the goal-line and short-yardage situations. I feel that because of this he could definitely see a good amount of playing time in the 2018 season, so look out for this durable and athletic kid.

There is definitely a lot to look forward to here as a Trojans fan. The coaching staff is elite and the players definitely pack a punch in the backfield. SC’s offense is going to be a problem for the UNLV’s, Texas’s, and Stanford’s of the world. Look out and most importantly Fight On!