With USC out of probation, Coach Steve Sarkisian will look to put the Trojans back on track as a national powerhouse. Cody Kessler will be the man at USC in the offense as he is the starter heading into 2014 season. As for the defense, all eyes will be on Leonard Williams. The two-time All-American defensive end will be a projected top 5 pick in the NFL draft. USC is projected to finish second behind UCLA to win Pac-12 South, according to the media.
1. Leonard Williams, defensive end
The two-time All-American is USC’s top prospect for the NFL. Projected as a top 5 pick in the NFL, Williams is expected to the anchor the defense for USC. Last season, he led the team in forced fumbles (2) and in tackles for loss (13.4). In two years at USC, he has started in 22 games.
2. Cody Kessler, quarterback
Under Sarkisian, you know the Trojans will be throwing the ball, meaning the spotlight will be on Cody Kessler. Sarkisian knows Kessler well. He even tried to recruit him to join his team in Washington. Last season for the Trojans, Kessler beat out Max Wittek early to be the Trojans’ No. 1 quarterback. Kessler completed over 65 percent of his throws and threw for nearly 3,000 with 20 touchdowns in 14 games in 2013.
3. Buck Allen, running back
Sarkisian has said Buck Allen will be the likely starting running back for the Trojans. He started to shine at the end of last season by running over 100 yards in four games and scoring 13 touchdowns. Allen will share time with Tre Madden, who was missed most of 2013 with a knee injury.
4. Su’a Cravens, safety
The versatile freshman All-American safety will lead the Trojans’ secondary for 2014. Last season, he had the second-most interceptions with four. He could see some time at the linebacker position. Craven is crazy athletic.
5. Nelson Agholor, wide receiver
After losing one of the best wide receivers of USC’s history in Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor will look into fit into some big shoes. Sarkisian will give the junior chances to shine under the new system. He had seven games with at least four catches in 2013.