The first week of fall camp is in the books for the USC Trojans. Camp has been highly anticipated due to the changes made around the program. The Trojans will have a lot of questions to answer coming into the 2019 season. While fall camp will only tell part of the story, it could give us a look if USC is making progress towards answering those questions. The team will scrimmage on Saturday, however we’ll look at some observations and standouts from the first week of fall camp.
Quarterback battle is stagnant
Coming into fall camp, there was hope that maybe the competition for the starting quarterback job would heat up a little bit. So far it’s been the same. JT Daniels, Matt Fink, Jack Sears, and Kedon Slovis have been up and down the past three practices. Keep in mind that it’s still early in camp and things could change. The quarterbacks are also learning a brand new offensive system. At this moment, none of the quarterbacks have separated themselves from each other. This should pick up as we hit a new week of camp.
The secondary has been a huge question mark coming into fall camp. So far it has looked like the strength of the team based on their play. Players like Isaac Taylor-Stuart have continued their good play from the spring, while others like Olaijah Griffin are making plays after missing most of spring with injuries. Freshman Chris Steele is also getting himself into the competition now that he is eligible to play. Talanoa Hufanga and Isaiah Pola-Mao has also showed signs of promise while Chase Williams looks to have the nickel cornerback position locked up. So far defensive backs coach Greg Burns is doing an outstanding job with secondary. Burns and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will move the cornerbacks and safeties around to get used to interchanging at different positions no the field.
Couple of freshman wide receivers making their mark
It’s already expected that Amon-Ra St. Brown, Michael Pittman Jr., Tyler Vaughns, and Velus Jones will lock down the starting spots, However two freshman that have impressed early are Drake London and Munir McClain. They have caught the attention of the coaching staff during the first week of camp. London, who is also a member of the USC basketball team, showed his athleticism and made tough grabs while being covered. McClain also shown his athleticism and ability to use his 6-foot-4 frame to out jump and out-muscle players for the ball. The two freshmen receivers certainly didn’t look out of place the first couple days of camp. McClain has been the best freshman on the field and is taking reps with the second team offense.
Stephen Carr looks healthy
Junior running back Stephen Carr has battled injuries the last couple of seasons at USC, prohibiting him to show his complete talent. While he has shown flashes of brilliance, injuries always strike. Through the spring, Carr has stated that he is 100% and during camp that is holding true. The junior running back has shown series of burst during 11 on 11 drills and proving that he is indeed healthy. Yes it’s still early on, however it is a very promising sign for Graham Harrell and USC fans to see. If Carr can stay healthy then he will be a very deadly player out of the backfield.
Cornerback Olaijah Griffin: The sophomore missed all spring camp with surgery on both of his shoulders. Griffin has come out with more juice to him, grabbing a total of five interceptions during camp. He’s In prime position to grab one of the starting cornerback spots come August 31st.
Wide Receiver Minur McClain: McClain has been one of the best freshmen, if not the best, in camp. So far McClain has not performed like a freshman, displaying his athleticism, height, and length. Head coach Clay Helton had high praise for the freshman and even gave him comparisons to fellow teammate in senior Pittman Jr.
Cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart: After an impressive spring camp, The redshirt freshman is picking up right where he left off. Stuart has shown steady improvements through camp as he competes for the starting cornerback job. Unfortunately he is currently nursing a minor groin injury that caused him to stout Thursday’s practice.