USC's Robert Woods announced that he will declare for the NFL Draft as a junior.— Rich Hammond (@RegisterUSC) December 31, 2012
This will be a big blow for the USC offense. The Trojans are already saying goodbye to star quarterback Matt Barkley and now the departure of another key playmaker will make a strong 2013 difficult.
Woods was one-half of the best receiving tandem in the country this fall. The duo of Marquise Lee and Woods combined for 2,493 yards and 25 touchdowns this fall. Woods contributed 73 catches for 813 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Despite his 73 catches, Woods thinks that he could have gotten more opportunities this season. Pedro Moura with ESPN Los Angeles said on twitter that Woods had this to say after being asked if his decreased role in the offense this season helped him make a final decision:
Robert Woods: "If the coaches wanted to keep me another year, they would’ve probably got me the ball."
— Pedro Moura (@PedroMoura) January 1, 2013
Woods clarified that he was grateful for his opportunities at USC tweeting this to Moura:
MT @heismanwoods (to me) I said I was grateful for everything this coaches did for me.so don't make it it seem like I'm firing at coaches— Pedro Moura (@PedroMoura) January 1, 2013
The USC Trojans will miss Woods as he departs for the NFL. He has put together a very good career for the Trojans, snagging 249 catches for 2,897 yards and 32 touchdowns in his career.
He has been a major part of the rise of the Trojans past the sanctions that stemmed from the Reggie Bush investigation.
USC is in trouble offensively with no clear leader at quarterback heading into 2013. After the performance from Max Wittek in the Sun Bowl, largely resulting in Woods' 3-catch, 33-yard performance, it is clear that the Trojans have a lot of developmental work to do at quarterback.
Losing a talented receiver and one of the go-to playmakers in the offense will hurt.
One positive bit of news that has come out is that running back Silas Redd plans to return for his senior season. The USC Athletics twitter feed posted this after the game:
USC RB Silas Redd has announced he will return for his senior season. CBNickell Robey will decide in a week.— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) December 31, 2012
The return of Redd will help give this team some experienced leadership in the backfield and should give the Trojans another threat in the passing game. He won’t fill the same role as Woods, but he could take some extra throws in 2013.
The Trojans will be rebuilding their defense this offseason, but the more important issue may be the offense. This team can’t afford to be left behind in the Pac-12 but, if they continue this regression on offense, they will get handled in 2013.
The loss of Woods is not a positive, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster.
Lee is returning and the Trojans will have the entire offseason to find a second option. Nelson Agholor is the most obvious choice, catching 19 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns this fall. He is also the return man for the Trojans' main return man.
Woods was a leader for this offense. Replacing the experience is the most difficult task ahead for the Trojans' offense. Without Woods this team takes a step back, but there is talent available to help ease the transition in 2013.