USC Football

USC Scoop's Early 2020 Depth Chart: Offense

June 11, 2020


Josh An

Starter: Kedon Slovis

Back-Up: Matt Fink, Mo Hasan

QBU has its next “face of the franchise” in Kedon Slovis and JT Daniels’ transfer to Georgia cemented it. It will be of upmost importance to keep the young signal caller upright next year and I expect him to take another leap next season. Matt Fink is a serviceable back-up, and it will be interesting to see if Mo Hasan can make an impact when he arrives on campus for Fall Camp and workouts.

Marc Kulkin

Starter: Kedon "Freaking" Slovis

Back-Ups: Matt Fink, Mo Hasan...Tyler Vaughns

Remember when USC was known as Running Back U.?   HIstory hasn't changed,the Trojans will always be known for their Heisman Trophy winning running backs, however, lately, USC, has been more known for its quarterbacks.  Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart each have a Heisman on the mantle, and there are many in the country who believe the Trojans have another one in the making.  Many in the Trojan Family felt J.T. Daniels would be the one.  Well, maybe, Daniels, will achieve the goal for the Bulldogs.  Right now, Slovis, would be the safest bet.

After Slovis, Matt Fink, will be the next guy up and Fink has shown he is a very capable back up, however, after Matt, the depth chart is a walk-on graduate by the name of Mo Hassan via Vanderbilt.  Unless there is something brewing behind the scenes where the staff is planning to bring a quarterback in from the portal, the best plan would be to keep Slovis upright and healthy so he can win the "freaking" Heisman.


Running Back

Josh An

Starter: Markese Stepp AND Vavae Malepeai AND Stephen Carr

Backup: Kenan Christon

This is a tougher one because I think last year showed that Malepeai was probably trusted most by the coaching staff. All three starting backs are solid and can play. However, Markese Stepp delivered an element of physicality and power that the other two simply did not provide. While I think all three backs will be featured, Stepp should be the lead man. When teams inevitably drop 7+ players into coverage this season, USC will have to pound the football, and I believe Stepp is best equipped to do so.

Marc Kulkin

Starter: Markese Stepp

Back-Ups:  I am so glad I'm not the one who has to actually make the depth chart because choosing 2-4 after No. 1 is a tough task.  

With the way USC runs her offense, including the offensive line splits, I'm a huge fan of Markese Stepp being the primary back.  The power running style, Stepp, brings is a defensive backfield's nightmare when they see Stepp in the open field.  If you don't believe me, harken back to Markese's performance in South Bend last season.  The key to being on the field if you're a Trojan running back is the ability to pass protect as well as catch the ball out of the backfield.   If Stepp continues to get better with the latter he will be hard to keep off the field if healthy.

After Stepp, Stephen Carr, will be the next guy up for me.  It's really a matter of 1A and 1B between Carr and Vavae Malepeai...both are very similar, although, Carr, is probably the better receiver between the two.  Whereas, Malepeai, has the lean forward ability turning a positive out of a negative.  The one true game breaker or lightning in a bottle is Kenan Christon.  Kenan is now a sophomore and his body is ready to absorb the punishment necessary which held him back in 2019.  This is bad news for opposing defenses...Christon's speed in the open field cannot be taught.

Tight End

Josh An

Starters: Erik Krommenhoek

Back Ups: Josh Falo, Daniel Immatorbhebhe(?)

As we saw last year, the Tight End has a very specific role in the Graham Harrell offense. They’re used primarily as blockers and Krommenhoek proved to be the most reliable for the coaching staff as the year went on. Krommenhoek caught just 11 passes next year and I’ll keep an eye on if that role of the tight end expands. It will also be interesting to see if Falo can break into the rotation and if Immatorbhebhe can contribute after a few seasons away from the game.

Marc Kulkin

Starters: Daniel Imatorbhebhe and Erik Krommenhoek

Tight end is the elephant in the room. A position group huge with talent, however, rarely heard from.  Perhaps 2020 will turn up the group's volume.  If the TE group wasn't crowded enough in 2019, the team welcomes back, Daniel Imatorbhebhe, for the 2020 season.  The last time we saw Daniel on the field, his brother Josh was still on the team and Daniel was killing it in the Rose Bowl. 

After a really long rehab process and an extra year of eligibility restored, the uber talented receiving tight end adds another element for the opposition to game plan against.  If the Trojans run a two-TE set, anticipate seeing Erik Krommenhoek out there for his blocking abilities joining Daniel.  After those two, Coach Graham Harrell, can choose from senior Josh Falo, (RS)freshmen, Jude Wolfe, Ethan Rae, Sean Mahoney, and (RS) senior Scott Voight.

Will Trojan fans see the re-emergence of the TE position is the real question.

Wide Receiver

Josh An

Starters: Amon-Ra St.Brown, Tyler Vaughns, Drake London

Back-Ups: Kyle Ford, Bru McCoy, Gary Bryant Jr., Munir McClain, John Jackson III, Joshua Jackson Jr.

There’s no doubt USC will feel the loss of Michael Pittman Jr. at some point next season. However, few teams across the nation have the ability to somewhat replace a Biletnikoff Award finalist the very next year. With St.Brown, Vaughns, and London USC has three of the top receivers in the conference and have Ford, McCoy and others to provide depth should Graham Harrell and Keary Colbert decide to rotate more at the position next year.

Marc Kulkin

If there is a deeper more talented group of receivers in the country not wearing Cardinal & Gold, you're going to have a really hard time convincing me.  

Typically, the Trojans will line up 3 wide so I'll use this as my baseline.  Other than Tyler Vaughns lining up on the outside, Amon-Ra St, Brown and Drake London are the slot or bracketing on the outside.   Behind these returners at the wide receiver position, the Trojans are ready to unleash Bru McCoy, Kyle Ford, Munir McClain, John Jackson III, Gary Bryant Jr., Josh Jackson Jr. et al,...,battling for targets when they get their chance on the field. 

The depth of talent and styles among this group in a word is, IMPRESSIVE!  These are the backups!! 

Offensive Line

Josh An

Starters(L-R): Alijah Vera-Tucker, Andrew Vorhees, Brett Neilon, Liam Jimmons, Jalen McKenzie

Losing both of your starting tackles is tough for any program. For USC, not being able to secure a commitment from an elite tackle prospect the last two years could prove costly this season. One of the keys to the season is finding Austin Jackson’s replacement on the blind side, and I’ll go with Alijah Vera-Tucker as he’s been USC’s most consistent pass protector for a while now. I think center is set while I’ll rely on experience with Vorhees, Jimmons and McKenzie as the starters. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jason Rodriguez or Justin Dedich are able to push the incumbents for playing time.

Marc Kulkin

I'm approaching this from the angle of who is healthy and ready to assume the duties.


1's...(LT) Alijah Vera-Tucker, (LG) Justin dedich (C) Brett Neilon, (RG), Jalen MacKenzie (RT) Jason Rodriguez.  Yes...I want to slide Jalen inside and move Jason outside.  My rationale is Jalen's experience should help Jason with inside recognition which less-experienced players tend to miss with their assignments.

2's...A lot of versatility for Coach Drevno to work with here (LT) Liam Jimmons, (LG) Liam Douglass, (C) Dedich (RG) Vorhees(if healthy) otherwise Bernard Schirmer, (RT) Frank Martin.  We can swap Martin and Jimmons depending on their comfort level.   There are a couple of rookies arriving later this summer to keep an eye on as well...Courtland Ford and Andres Dewerk both could push for some playing time by season's end.

Tags: Football
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