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USC redshirt junior T Zach Banner said that he "want[s] to be the No. 1 overall pick" in either the 2016 or 2017 draft.

"I don't want to be a second-to-sixth-round pick. I don't even want to be a first round. I want to be the No. 1 overall pick," said Banner. The 6-foot-9, 360-pound tackle is entering his second year as a starter at right tackle on the Trojan line. He could stay in school for his senior season and enter the 2017 draft, but in August, TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline wrote that industry experts see Banner bolting this spring. In that same analysis, Pauline was very critical of the lineman, indicating that the game film from 2014 showed serious flaws in balance that prevented Banner from finishing blocks. Pauline believes it would be a "mistake" for him to enter the draft this season unless he makes marked changes.
Source: LA Times
Sep 2 - 3:45 PM

USC AD Pat Haden said that "a lot of careful thought" was given before deciding not to suspend HC Steve Sarkisian.

"I believe the course of action we chose was really in the best interest of USC and Steve Sarkisian and maybe just as important, or more importantly, our players, said Haden. Sarkisian has apologized for his behavior during a school-sponsored donor event earlier in August, in which he made a slew of inappropriate comments while allegedly under the influence of alcohol and medication. USC opens the season against Arkansas State on Saturday.
Source: ESPN.com
Sep 1 - 7:33 PM

USC sophomore Adoree' Jackson is listed as a starting CB and second team WR on the Trojans' depth chart.

Jackson has split practice reps at receiver and corner. He has more game experience at corner, but coaches cannot get over how impactful he can be on offense, and who can blame them. Of the 10 passes he caught last season, Jackson scored three times. The star sophomore should see the field in all three phases of the game.
Aug 31 - 8:15 AM

According to USC HC Steve Sarkisian, OC Clay Helton will call the majority of the team's plays this season.

Helton won't have complete control over play-calling, though, as Sarkisian will have the final say in some situations. After losing four games in 2014, expectations are high for this Trojan squad. We'll see how long Sark's willing to cede play-calling duties if the team struggles early.
Aug 29 - 7:25 PM

NFL Media draft analyst Gil Brandt wrote that USC redshirt senior QB Cody Kessler "reminds you of Drew Brees in college."

In an ongoing countdown of the Top-20 players in college football by NFL.com, Kessler joins the party at No. 13. Draft analyst Brandt called the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder "very smart, very accurate," while fellow expert Bucky Brooks said that Kessler "might lack the big arm that scouts covet, but there isn't a better game manager in college football." He completed 69.7% of his passes last season, good for 3,826 yards and a 39/5 TD/INT ratio.
Source: NFL.com
Aug 29 - 4:36 PM

USC freshman TE Tyler Petite should "see time this season with depth an issue at tight end," USC beat writer Scott Wolf notes.

The former four-star recruit out of California, recorded 37 receptions for 969 yards and nine touchdowns during his senior year at Campolindo High School. ESPN ranked the 6-foot-6, 235 pound Petite the No. 2 tight end in the 2015 recruiting class and the 85th overall recruit. With sophomore Bryce Dixon out of the program due to an unspecified student-conduct issue, and junior Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick still working on being academically eligible, Petite has solid opportunity to contribute.
Aug 27 - 2:44 PM

USC redshirt junior LT Chad Wheeler (knee, concussion) returned to practice on Wednesday.

Wheeler suffered the concussion after he was accidentally hit in the head by a medicine ball last week. He wasn't wearing a helmet at the time. The 6-foot-7, 280-pounder had a sense of humor about it, saying, "Oddest injury I’ve ever been subject to." In addition to Wheeler's head recovery, he was also given the green light to practice in full on his surgically repaired right knee after being limited to this point. The junior said that he felt good after Wednesday practice. He hopes to be ready for the team's kickoff against Arkansas State on September 5.
Source: LA Times
Aug 26 - 6:32 PM

CBS Sports' Rob Rang believes that USC senior C Max Tuerk "offers an intoxicating blend of length, initial quickness and agility that is sure to excite offensive line coaches."

"With a frame that looks better suited to left tackle or even tight end, Tuerk isn't your traditional short, squatty center but that's precisely where he starred a year ago for the Trojans and will remain there in 2015," Rang wrote. The USC prospect is currently ESPN's Mel Kiper's top senior center prospect. In his time with the Trojans, the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Tuerk has started at every position on the offensive line.
Source: CBS Sports
Aug 26 - 4:00 PM

According to NFL Media draft analyst Chad Reuter, USC sophomore WR JuJu Smith-Schuster "looks like a senior in his physique and route-running."

Smith-Schuster made 54 receptions for 724 yards and five touchdowns as a true freshman. NFL Media analyst Reuter has deemed him the "next excellent receiver to come through USC." Sports on Earth's Matt Brown would likely support that assessment. In late July, Brown noted that the 6-foot-2, 210-pound sophomore has "all the necessary traits to develop into a game-changing receiver." A five-star recruit, it doesn't hurt that Smith-Schuster has one of the best quarterbacks in the country looking for his number. Hitting your developmental potential becomes that much easier with the likes of Cody Kessler behind center.
Source: NFL.com
Aug 25 - 6:42 PM

USC freshman RB Dominic Davis has "undeniable home run ability" that should help him avoid a redshirt, according to Travis Haney of ESPN.

Haney points to Davis' skill set which allows him to shift between running back and slot receiver. The freshman reportedly scored as a rusher, receiver and returner in a recent scrimmage.
Source: ESPN
Aug 25 - 11:44 AM

NFL Media draft analyst Chad Reuter believes USC senior FB Soma Vainuku "should be valued for his multiple contributions to the team."

Because of his versatility, the cousin of former USC star and Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga could get drafted. "He'll emulate a six-foot, 255-pound battering ram while leading the tailback into the hole, gain tough yardage as a runner, catch the ball out of the backfield and then pummel a returner on kick-coverage units," Reuter wrote. Vainuku had only seven carries and zero receptions last season.
Source: NFL.com
Aug 24 - 5:55 PM

USC HC Steve Sarkisian apologized for his behavior at a school-sponsored donor event Saturday.

In front of donors, players, staff, coaches and family and friends thereof, Sarkisian's behavior and comments grew so erratic that athletic director Pat Haden pulled him off the stage. The coach was suspected to be drunk. "I sincerely apologize to my players and staff and to our fans for my behavior and my inappropriate language at our kickoff event Saturday night," Sarkisian said in a statement. "I have a responsibility to all of them and I let them down. Pat Haden talked to me after the event about my actions and I assured him this will not happen again." Haden also released a statement saying he had privately reprimanded the coach.
Aug 23 - 4:37 PM

TFY Draft Insider Tony Pauline reports the industry believes USC redshirt junior T Zach Banner will enter the 2016 draft.

That could be a big misstep, according to the analyst. "Unless he significantly improves his game its a mistake off the ’14 film," Pauline wrote. "Banner is a big bodied blocker but a lineman who shows little in the way of balance or the ability to consistently finish blocks due to his lack of balance." Pauline doesn't current have a draftable grade on the 6-foot-9, 360-pound Banner. Ouch.
Aug 23 - 4:20 PM

USC redshirt senior LB Anthony Sarao "will be downgraded as he’s not even 6-feet tall but on film he’s a terrific linebacker with a complete game," according to TFY Draft Insider Tony Pauline.

"In the right system he will produce at the next level," Pauline wrote. Pauline graded Sarao as a fifth-rounder. The 6-foot, 220-pounder "could be a sleeper when it comes to the draft," according to ESPN's Greg Katz.
Aug 23 - 3:40 PM

USC redshirt senior DL Greg Townsend has produced a "terrific camp," according to Bruce Feldman.

Townsend is a former top recruit and his father is a former four-time All-Pro NFL player. Townsend only filled a backup role last year and missed 2013 with a knee injury. USC needs to fill the shoes of Leonard Williams, and Steve Sarkisian is expecting the "explosive and disruptive" Townsend to help tremendously.
Aug 23 - 11:27 AM


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