USC will have a pair of key players back for the 2020 season.
Defensive tackle Jay Tufele announced his decision to forego the upcoming NFL Draft and return to the Trojans for his senior season Thursday evening. The defensive tackle announced his decision to return through his twitter account.
All glory to god pic.twitter.com/Wr4r28pRYh— jay Tufele (@tufele123) January 17, 2020
Shortly after Tufele, wide receiver Tyler Vaughns announced on his twitter that he will also skip the draft to stay for his fifth year at USC.
One more year ✌️ pic.twitter.com/lEKuMv9Kc4— Tyler Tamar Vaughns (@tswag03) January 17, 2020
Tufele has been a key part of the Trojans defensive line for the past three seasons. While he doesn’t tally up stats off, he does a solid job both off the edge and on the interior. Last season Tufele saw an increase in his tackle for loss and sacks. Because of this he was named to first team All Pac-12 defense. An improvement from 2018 where he was named to the second team.
The next step for Tufele to improve is his physical ability in the trenches against offensive guards and centers. If he could take away the quarterback’s ability to step up in the pocket and continue to improve then look for Tufele’s stock to grow going into the 2021 NFL Draft.
Vaughns’ return on the other hand solidifies the Trojans wide receiving group once again for the 2020 season. After sitting out his freshman season, Vaughns made himself known to USC fans during the Trojans loss to Washington State in 2017. Since then he has been one of their better playmakers at the position.
Last season Vaughns was a key target for quarterback Kedon Slovis and benefited from Graham Harrell’s air raid offense. The redshirt junior finished with 912 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns. He also had 4 100 yard receiving games last season.
Vaughns decision to return is beneficial to both parties. For USC, it gives them another veteran receiver to guide younger receivers such as Bru McCoy and Kyle Ford while being another dynamic playmaker at wide the position. Not only will he bring a veterans presence, but he adds much needed depth at wide receiver. USC was down to six scholarship receivers with the graduation of Michael Pittman Jr. and the transfer of Velus Jones Jr. to Tennessee. Despite the Trojans adding Gary Bryant Jr. and Josh Jackson Jr. through recruiting, having a low number of receivers is never ideal when running the air raid offense.
It also helps Vaughns build his stock and standout in a loaded USC receiving group for next year’s NFL Draft. The 2020 NFL Draft is loaded with wide receivers which makes it a high risk of Vaughns being drafted very low or not drafted at all. Coming back will mean him being a top receiver in a dynamic offense and produce huge numbers.