USC Football: 5 Unknown Trojans Who Will Step Up in 2012

Brandon Williams@BW_WritesSportsContributor IIIMay 21, 2012

USC Football: 5 Unknown Trojans Who Will Step Up in 2012

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    Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, T.J. McDonald; everybody knows the stars on the USC Trojans football team, but oftentimes it is those unheralded players who can make the difference in a season.

    The Trojans come into 2012 with plenty of talent. Some of the players are virtually unknown across the nation, but that doesn't take away from what they can do on the field.

    In order for the Trojans to reach the success that they are expected to, they'll need all the help they can get from everyone on the roster.

    Whether it is from a backup player giving a starter some rest or a player that comes out of nowhere to take over a starting position, the full roster will need to contribute.

    Here are some of the unknown and unheralded players that could break out and step up in 2012.

1. Anthony Sarao, Linebacker

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    Anthony Sarao is an extremely talented linebacker who redshirted last year as a freshman and helped the scout team in a big way.

    He is a part of a deep unit at linebacker, but in a conference with a team like the Oregon Ducks, Sarao will be crucial in keeping fresh legs on the field with little to no drop off in talent.

    A quick player that covers the field well, Sarao should be able to earn plenty of playing time early and back up all of the linebacker positions.

2. J.R. Tavai, Defensive Tackle

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    After playing sparingly as a freshman last year, J.R. Tavai has a chance to break out at a position with plenty of questions.

    After losing DaJohn Harris and Christian Tupou to the NFL, the Trojans will start two new players at defensive tackle, and Tavai is hoping to be one of them.

    He, along with Antwaun Woods and George Uko, have a chance to provide quality play on the inside and in the trenches. Tavai only played in seven games last year and contributed four tackles, but he has flashed ability to get in the backfield.

    His presence could be a huge factor in 2012.

3. De'Von Flournoy, Wide Receiver

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    After having a great spring, De'Von Flournoy has the opportunity to be the third receiver behind Robert Woods and Marqise Lee.

    He's a talented player that could provide another weapon for quarterback Matt Barkley. He'll need to continue to stand out, however, as he's at a position full of playmakers.

    If Flournoy can compete throughout the season as he did during the spring, he could have a big impact and give Lee and Woods some rest time.

4. Drew McAllister, Safety

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    While he's not so much an unknown, Drew McAllister seems to be a man forgotten by most people out there.

    The fifth-year senior is a key backup and special teams player who has been solid for the Trojans when healthy.

    He has great ball skills and is a great teacher to have back there with other veterans like T.J. McDonald and Jawanza Starling.

    McAllister will help give McDonald rest and provide key coverage on special teams in 2012, but don't be surprised to see him come up with a few big plays and interceptions in his time on the field.

5. Junior Pomee, Tight End

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    While he will start the season behind Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble on the depth chart at tight end, Junior Pomee has the ability to explode in the Trojans offense in 2012.

    He has the size of a tight end and the speed of a receiver, making him a huge threat to step in all over the field and provide a big target for Barkley.

    If given the chance, Pomee can break some big plays since he is larger than most safeties and he is faster than most linebackers. He's a seam-threat that who contribute while giving Telfer and Grimble rest.

    There's no denying Pomee's ability; he just needs to stand out from the loaded unit to make a name for himself.