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Summer Position Preview: Wide Receivers

We preview arguably the most loaded unit on the USC football team in the wide receivers. Who will likely stand out from a talent crop of receivers.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

One of the positions that’s often talked about with USC is at wide receiver. Despite being without their leading receiver in Deontay Burnett, who departed for the NFL draft, USC is expected to have one of the deepest and most talented group of receivers in the Pac-12 conference. We take a look at the Trojans projected depth chart at the position.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Starters

USC has a plethora of wide receivers that can step up if one player goes down, however the outside will be locked down by junior Michael Pittman Jr. and redshirt sophomore Tyler Vaughns. The duo saw time last season and played a key part in USC’s passing attack and were key players in USC’s victory over Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Vaughns had a breakout game against Washington State where the redshirt sophomore caught 6 passes for 89 yards in the 30-27 loss to the Cougars. Pittman Jr. on the other end brings a huge 6’4 frame that will make 50-50 balls better for the quarterback, whoever that may be. The slot position will be an open battle and could be an area where the Trojans could by committee. The favorite to start here clearly incoming freshman Amon-Ra St. Brown. St. Brown was a 5 star wide receiver coming out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California.

Backups

Again the Trojans could use their depth to rotate players in different packages. Redshirt sophomore Velus Jones has emerged as a player to keep an eye on. Last season Jones was pledged with drops, however he continued to see playing time due to his versatility and speed. During the spring, Jones was reported to have a series of good practices which put him back into consideration to for the starting slot position. Look for Offensive Coordinator Tee Martin to use Jones the same way as last season, by lining him up all over the field to create mismatches. Other redshirt sophomores such as Josh Imatorbhebhe, Randall Grimes, Trevon Sidney, and Keyshawn Young could find themselves in the rotation this coming season. Incoming freshman Devon Williams could also find a way into the fold. At 6’4, 200 pounds, Williams speed and size could give USC an extra weapon on offense. If he performs well in fall camp then expect him to see early playing time this season.

Player to Watch

Tyler Vaughns is a player to watch. Last season he was USC’s second leading receiver in yards, receptions, and touchdowns. Many will want to see if he will follow up his outstanding 2017 season. A new quarterback may cause for his numbers to take a slight hit, however expect Vaughns to continue to be a productive player for the Trojans offense this season.