USC Football

Tee Martin's insight on Fink, JT Daniels & Devon Williams

March 7, 2018

When Matt Fink arrived at USC a little more than two years ago it appeared as if Jack Sears would ultimately be the leading candidate to succeed Sam Darnold. At that time Darnold was the backup to Max Browne, but it was obvious Darnold was the better quarterback.

But Fink made dramatic improvements during his first year at USC and by the time the Trojans were preparing to face Penn State in the Rose Bowl, he looked very sharp in practices. His reps were limited during the regular season, but Max Browne had departed by the time Rose Bowl prep began and Fink was backup to Darnold as a result.

"That's about the time I began seeing him start to grow into a leader," said Martin. "His command of the offense, his confidence began to grow and his understanding of protections improved. We really saw him grow last year. In the short amount of time we've been around him during morning runs and team exercises, we've seen him step to the forefront of leading guys. Guys are following him and really listening to him."

During Spring Ball Fink and Jack Sears will battle it out for the No. 1 spot heading into the fall, but incoming-freshman sensation JT Daniels arrives in June and will be added to competiton for the starting gig this season.

In fact, Daniels is one of those rare talents who we wouldn't bet against winning the starting quarterback gig over two juniors. Daniels has beeen a winner since his youth football days when he played with incoming freshman WR and Mater Dei teammate Amon-Ra St. Brown. Martin explained what makes Daniels an exceptional talent.

"His ability to make the throws, his ability to see things fast, because of his mental capacity," Martin said. "He's a young man who's we saw when he was in the eighth grade. We knew then he was going to be one of the best players. And since then he's proven he's one of the best players in the country year in and year out. We're really excited about JT."

Daniels also has a work ethic and passion for football coaches dream about.

"I've never seen a player on his official visit want to be in on all of the football meetings," said Martin. "I would ask him if he wanted to go out with the guys and he would say, 'No, I want to watch film.' I'm thinking, what kind of kid is this?"

USC has several WRs on the roster who will play on Sundays, including starters Michael Pittman and Tyler Vaughns, but whoever the starting QB is will also have two new weapons in St. Brown and Devon Williams. Those following high school football in southern California saw what Daniels and St. Brown can do the past two seasons at Mater Dei, but the Trojans adding a 6-5, 210 pound receiver in Devon Williams from Antelope Valley HS.

Despite Williams showcasing his tremendous talent on both sides of the ball during his high school career, there were those who doubted him. Doubted he'd be a big-time D-I prospect and qualify academically for a school like USC. But Williams was invited to The Opening Finals, The Under Armour All-American Game, The Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii and signed with The University of Southern California on Feb. 7. We were there.

Martin had developed an extremely strong relationship with Williams and told us he was one of his favorites of all time. That's strong commentary coming from Martin who's basically hand picked each receiver he's added to the roster the past seven years.

"I'm so proud of Devon, first off, for being strong," said Martin. "He made his decision (signing day) and the next day he was working out at 5am. He gets up at 4:30am to train, work out and I'm always on the phone with him talking about the playbook. He wants it and there's opportunity here. We only have seven scholarship receivers in Spring camp, so there's more opportunity here than there's been in a long time."

Below is more from Tee on Tim Drevno and Bryan Ellis.

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Tee Martin's insight on Fink, Jt Daniels & Devon Williams

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