- Amon Ra St. Brown (Wide Receiver, Freshman)
Last year, Sam Darnold struggled to find a go to receiver after the departure of Juju Smith-Schuster. Now, after the first game of the season, it does not appear that JT Daniels will deal with the same problem. The true freshman from Mater Dei connected with his high school teammate, Amon Ra St. Brown, for 98 yards, including a 43 yard touchdown that pushed USC towards a 43-21 victory over UNLV. This is a great sign for Trojan fans, as St. Brown appears to be the schools next superstar wide receiver. When you look at his eighteen years of age, there is no reason why Amon Ra St. Brown cannot dominate college football over the next three years, especially with fellow Mater Dei star Daniels throwing him the ball each Saturday.
2. Porter Gustin (Linebacker, Senior)’
After being hurt most of last year, senior LB Porter Gustin had an exceptional performance yesterday in Week 1. He was able to complete 1.5 sacks, recover a fumble, and finish 3 tackles on the day. These are the type of numbers you expect from a senior that was the number one ranked recruit in the country for his position coming out of high school. The Trojan defense looked a bit shaky to start the first half, so Gustin’s leadership will be critical for the defensive unit moving forward into Week 2. The Trojans travel north to face the Stanford Cardinal (13th), in a huge matchup that could ultimately decide who goes to the PAC 12 Championship Game in December.
3. JT Daniels (Quarterback, Freshman)
While his stat line doesn’t jump off the page, Daniels had an impressive debut in the Coliseum. Yes, there was a slow start, including a pass that probably should have been intercepted, but Daniels regrouped his offense for a dominate second half performance. After four field goals in the first half, Daniels showed a lot of promise throwing the football, especially in the fourth quarter. On the very first play of the 4th, Daniels connected with his Mater Dei teammate, Amon Ra St. Brown, for a gorgeous 43 yard touchdown pass. It was a fitting first touchdown for such highly touted recruits, and an image we will likely see plenty of times over the next 2-4 years. However, St. Brown, Gustin, and Daniels will face an incredible challenge next week at 13th ranked Stanford. Daniels will likely need multiple plays of this magnitude in order to come away with a victory, and a 2-0 start to his inaugural season.