USC Football

Looking Ahead: USC's Offensive Line

September 14, 2020
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The Trojan Family already knew heading into the 2020 season they had to replace both starting offensive tackles from last season’s team.  So what if the Trojans’ best interior lineman, and potential left tackle replacement decided to chase his professional aspirations.  Next man up!

Therein lies the question(s)...who’s the next man up?

Heading into spring camp, Alijah Vera-Tucker, was going to slide to the outside and step into the role of protecting Kedon Slovis’ blindside at left tackle.   Instead, AVT will slide into the role of training for the NFL combine.  

To put it bluntly USC’s offensive line is going to look very different when the group comes together.  

First order of business for, Coach Drevno, while fielding a new offensive line is knowing who will and who won’t be on the roster when a season kicks off.   Will there be more player opt outs the longer it takes for a season to start?   How about the health status?  Even with an extended off season, what’s the health status of the those who are returning?   From the incoming 2020 class of Oline recruits who will be ready to contribute?

Like the lingering off season there are still more questions than answers right now.

Here’s what an opening day rotation could potentially look like....My two deep:

LT: Jalen MacKenzie, Frank Martin II or Jason Rodriguez

LG: Justin Dedich, Liam Douglass

C: Brett Neilon, Justin Dedich

RG: Liam Jimmons, Andrew Vorhees

RT: Jason Rodriguez, Liam Jimmons 

After the above aforementioned the depth is highlighted with inexperience and a room full of youth.  Who from the class of 2020 will be ready to contribute is one question?  Hopefully, none of them will be forced into action too soon.

Josh An

Left to Right:

Jalen McKenzie

Justin Dedich

Brett Neilon

Andrew Vorhees

Liam Jimmons

In Waiting: Jason Rodriguez, Courtland Ford, Jonah Monheim 

USC Scoop
Caption

It’s hard enough losing one starter after a season. For USC, they’ll have to replace three in Austin Jackson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Drew Richmond. That leaves Tim Drevno and the staff with a difficult decision moving forward. For me, I want my most experienced players out there together which is why I gave Jalen McKenzie the spot at left tackle, and Liam Jimmons(whos played there before) at Right Tackle. Left guard was a difficult choice, but I’m rolling with Justin Dedich as he has the nastiness and tenacity I want at the position. That leaves Neilon and Vorhees as the incumbents as the center and right guard spots, but I want to say that I wouldn’t be surprised if the Day 1 group ended up looking drastically different. Jason Rodriguez could make a push, and the likes of Courtland Ford and Jonah Monheim will surely push for early playing time. While the future is uncertain, what’s clear is that USC has a huge challenge on its hands trying to clear up the trenches moving forward.

Scott Schrader

Chances are great guys who've been at USC have the upper hand on filling the starting roles, but Courtland Ford‍, Casey Collier‍, Jonah Monheim‍, Andres Dewerk‍ and Andrew Milek‍ are all guys I've seen who who have extremely bright futures. Caadyn Stephen‍ also arrived from Washington and those I know in the Evergreen State who've seen him in person were extremely high on him.

Ford, Collier and Monheim will likely be starters in the next year or two on one of the most talented USC Offensive Lines we've seen in quite some time.

Adding Mason Murphy‍ and Maximus Gibbs‍ in the 2021 class will provide solid depth in the upcoming years and could also become starters during that stretch.

The Trojans already have Jason Rodriguez‍ eager and ready to make an impact at USC as a redshirt freshman in 2020/2021. Despite ideal offensive tackle size, he was likely going to see a majority of his time at guard in 2020. With projected 2020 starting left tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker opting out of the season, Rodriguez may be needed at tackle.  We're still holding out hope there's a season this Fall or Winter.

 
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