Player News

Date:

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein spoke with an area scout who believes USC CB Adoree' Jackson will be drafted in the early part of the second round.

The scout was surprised at Jackson's ball skills in coverage this season, something that did not show up in 2015. Jackson will be labeled as an athlete during the entire draft process, a piece of clay for coaches to mold. The corner group is one of the best positions in the class.
Source: NFL.com
Jan 20 - 11:13 AM

USC junior CB Adoree' Jackson declared for the NFL Draft.

The winner of the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's best cornerback, Jackson moonlighted as a receiver and kick returner at USC. Jackson is a twitched-up athlete who reached the qualifiers for the Rio Summer Games in the long jump event. An anonymous scout told NFL.com in November that Jackson looked like a second-rounder. Walter Football (36th) and SB Nation (53rd) have rankings that mirror that opinion, and many industry mock exercises have omitted Jackson from Rd. 1. NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah has concerns about Jackson's size (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) and compares him to the Bengals' Adam Jones. Jackson's athleticism isn't in question, but he'll need to work on his technique. Despite that Thorpe award, Jackson was inconsistent in coverage for a top prospect in 2016.
Jan 16 - 3:08 PM

USC RB Justin Davis will not play in the East-West Shrine Game due to an ankle injury.

Tip of the cap to Rotoworld's Josh Norris on the specific injury. Norris hears that Davis is nursing an ankle tweak sustained in USC's epic Rose Bowl Game win over Penn State at the beginning of January. Beyond the Rose Bowl Game, ankle concerns were a consistent nagging issue for Davis throughout past season. He missed three games due to a high ankle sprain suffered in early October. Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline views Davis as a potential sixth-round pick in this spring's draft.
Jan 13 - 6:17 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler would be surprised if USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is selected in the top 32 picks of April's draft.

Specifically, Brugler points to Smith-Schuster's inability to handle press coverage, something that pops up with a number of receiver prospects. Smith-Schuster is awesome after the catch, picking up yards in the small game, but it is certainly fair to question if he can create separation in the NFL if he can't at the college level.
Jan 13 - 9:28 AM

ESPN's Gerry Hamilton notes that USC four-star 2018 verbal WR commit Manuel Allen possesses "good length, excellent quickness off the line and explosive change of direction for his size."

"That ability to quickly change direction provides the ability to make multiple defenders miss and maximize yards after the catch," Hamilton writes. "He’s fast enough to take the top off the defense with his quickness off the line, and can make plays on the ball in the air with impressive body control." The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder has another year to pack on a bit more playing weight before he joins the Trojans in 2018. There doesn't seem to be another program seriously threatening USC at this juncture. Hamilton believes that so long as the boat remains steady in terms of the coaching staff, they essentially have Allen on lock. On the ESPN Jr 300, Allen joins the party at No. 101.
Jan 12 - 7:29 PM

USC sophomore WR Deontay Burnett will be the Trojans’ returning leader in receptions, yardage and touchdowns.

USC's receiving core is in need of a major reload after losing senior WR Darreus Rogers to graduation and junior Juju Smith-Schuster to early entry. Burnett logged a 56-622-7 receiving line over the course of 12 games this year. He'll be joined near the front of the spring depth chart by freshman Michael Pittman Jr. and redshirt freshmen Tyler Vaughns and Josh Imatorbhebhe.
Source: LA Times
Jan 8 - 1:48 PM

USC junior WR JuJu Smith-Schuster declared for the NFL Draft.

The Trojans tried valiantly to convince Smith-Schuster to stay, but in the end the allure of being a possible first-rounder proved too great. Smith-Schuster snagged 213 catches for 3,092 yards and 25 touchdowns across his three seasons on campus. His production dropped a bit this season, however, from 89 catches for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015 to 70 catches for 914 yards and 10 touchdowns (due to double-teams, a back injury and QB Sam Darnold’s preference to spread the ball). ESPN NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr. pegs Smith-Schuster as the No. 4-ranked draft-eligible receiver. His colleague, ESPN's Todd McShay, projected Smith-Schuster as the No. 22 overall pick in a recent mock draft. Smith-Schuster's star teammate CB Adoree' Jackson is also considering a jump, but has not yet announced his NFL intentions.
Source: ESPN
Jan 8 - 11:44 AM

USC received a verbal commitment from four-star 2017 S Bubba Bolden.

Ohio State and Arizona State were also finalists for Bolden's commitment. Five-star Buckeyes QB commit Tate Martell had been trying to sway the 6-foot-3, 183-pounder over to Ohio State's cause, to no avail. ESPN 300 ranks Bolden as their No. 149 prospect for the 2017 cycle, with the outlet noting that he is "a high upside defender who will only improve with continued physical development." They would like to see tighter technique on his tackles, as he occasionally can get a little loose when it comes to wrapping up.
Jan 7 - 3:14 PM

USC received a verbal commitment from four-star 2018 WR Manuel Allen.

Allen, a native of Corona, California, was also seeing interest from Pac-12 outfits such as Cal, Colorado, Washington and Washington State. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder makes for a nice addition to the budding 2018 class that HC Clay Helton is already building up. On the ESPN Jr 300, USC has already snagged five commitments. Allen stands as the Worldwide Leader's No. 101 prospect for the next cycle. The outlet notes that he is "an impressive player with body control, agility and a knack for making plays" and "a sound route-runner for a young player." They are particularly smitten with his quickness and ability to change direction at the drop of a hat.
Jan 6 - 7:58 PM

USC junior G Damien Mama will forego his final season of collegiate eligibility to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

Mama had previously indicated that HC Clay Helton advised him to return to school for the 2017 campaign, but he ultimately decided to pursue his NFL dreams without the extra year of development. The 6-foot-4, 325-pounder started every game over the past two seasons for USC. In late September, Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline praised his "great power" in helping to bulldoze running lanes in a loss to Utah. Pauline grades Mama as a potential third-round selection.
Jan 6 - 5:34 PM

USC HC Clay Helton has presented NFL draft evaluations to both CB Adoree' Jackson and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Helton did not disclose what those evaluations said, but both Jackson and Smith-Schuster are considered low-Rd. 1 to high-Rd. 2 prospects at the moment. USC's coach also didn't have a timeline for when his prized players would make their decisions. While both are expected to declare, USC has reportedly been putting a full-court press on each to return. Stay tuned.
Source: ESPN
Jan 4 - 4:20 PM

Chiefs beat writer Terez A. Paylor spoke with an NFL scout who called USC junior WR JuJu Smith-Schuster "an average route runner."

The scout added Smith-Schuster is "big and strong" and should be selected in the top two rounds despite needing "polish." This is a very bland evaluation, if we are being frank. Ninety percent of receivers who jump from college to the NFL are "average route runners." In fact, the criticism that many collegiate receivers don't run full route trees is overblown. We aren't saying Smith-Schuster is a top prospect, but we would point to his strong after catch ability before noting any other piece of his game.
Jan 4 - 11:35 AM

USC redshirt junior DT Khaliel Rodgers will transfer.

Rodgers has been a useful, versatile backup body for the Trojans during his three active seasons. He spent time at guard and center in 2014 and 2015 before shifting over to the defensive line prior to the 2016 campaign. The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder's destination preference is not yet known, but as he will be moving on as a graduate, he will be eligible to play for another FBS squad immediately in 2017.
Source: ESPN.com
Jan 3 - 6:20 PM

USC sophomore WR Deontay Burnett caught 13 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns in Monday's 52-49 win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl Game.

Burnett caught touchdown passes of 26, 3 and 27 yards in the first, second and fourth quarters, respectively. That 27-yarder will be one to tell the grandkids about. The 6-foot, 170-pound sophomore made the scoring catch with just 1:20 remaining in the fourth quarter. With the extra point, it tied proceedings at 49-49. Penn State would have a chance for the win, but QB Trace McSorley threw an almost-pick and then backed it up with an actual pick on his next throw to give USC the ball back for the eventual game-winning field goal. Burnett wraps the 2016 campaign holding a 56-622-7 receiving line over the course of 12 games played.
Jan 2 - 10:11 PM

USC redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold completed 33-of-53 passes for 453 yards, five touchdowns and an interception in Monday's 52-49 win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl Game.

After the Outback and Cotton Bowls proved relatively uneventful earlier on Monday, the Trojans and Nittany Lions came through with a brilliant battle in the Granddaddy of Them All. Darnold fired off three of his five touchdown passes before halftime as USC worked their way to a 27-21 halftime advantage. Penn State came out aflame in the third quarter, though, to the point where they held a 14-point lead entering the fourth quarter. USC was game for this dance, posting a 17-0 fourth quarter that included a late game-tying touchdown pass from Darnold and a 46-yard, at-the-gun game-winning field goal off the leg of Matt Boermeester. We cannot wait to see what Darnold does in his 2017 encore. He finished the 2016 season with 2,881 yards passing and a 29/9 TD/INT ratio despite not starting until the end of September.
Jan 2 - 9:39 PM


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