USC Football: Recruits Who Will Make Immediate Impact for Trojans
Coming off a disappointing 7-5 campaign, USC is trying to pick up the pieces and start anew.
Despite some top recruits decommitting from the program before national signing day, the Trojans still landed four 5-star recruits and eight 4-star recruits in 2013 (via 247Sports.com).
With quarterback Matt Barkley, receiver Robert Woods and safety T.J. McDonald headed to the NFL, there will be a lot of pressure on USC's 2013 class.
Here's a look at the prospects I see making an immediate impact for Lane Kiffin's squad.
Su'a Cravens, S
The biggest priority for USC this recruiting season was addressing the secondary. The Trojans allowed 6.8 yards per pass attempt in 2012 (tied for 45th in the nation, via CFBStats.com) and got beat deep more than a few times.
In that regard, 5-star safety Su'a Cravens may have been USC's biggest signing in 2013.
Big, fast, physical and explosive, Cravens possesses all the tools to excel at the next level and beyond. You add his instincts, ball-hawking ability, toughness and motor, and you have a player who can step in right away for the Trojans.
Kenny Bigelow, DT
Beyond the Trojans' issues defending the pass last season, they also allowed 4.07 yards per carry (tied for 68th in the nation, sixth in the Pac-12).
Five-star defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow could be a big player for USC in that sense.
At 6'3", 297 pounds, Bigelow is a big, strong player with eye-opening explosiveness for his size. He's also versatile, which could see the Trojans move him along the line to exploit matchups in 2013.
Bigelow is already a technically sound player, and he understands blocking schemes very well. He may not have the same upside as some other 5-star prospects, but he figures to make an impact much sooner.
Leon McQuay III, S
Leon McQuay could play alongside Cravens to provide a powerful one-two punch on the back end of the secondary.
First of all, the 5-star safety has it all physically. Tall, athletic, strong, explosive and long, McQuay is not only a fluid player, but one who can stand up to the bigger receivers.
Beyond that, McQuay displayed great instincts at Armwood High School in Florida, and he reads the quarterback and receivers with great intelligence. Combined with his aggressive nature and tackling skills, he shouldn't have a problem finding immediate playing time at USC.
Chris Hawkins, CB
Four-star cornerback Chris Hawkins is another player the Trojans are hoping can step in right away and make a difference in the secondary.
Hawkins needs to add some strength to his frame, but he does have solid length. In particular, the California native has shown great awareness and smarts in man-to-man coverage, and he boasts the fluidity, change-of-direction ability and closing speed to potentially be a lock-down corner at the next level.
Steven Mitchell, WR
Last but not least, we have 4-star receiver Steven Mitchell.
With Robert Woods headed to the NFL, Mitchell has an opportunity to grab the No. 2 spot on the roster opposite the dynamic Marqise Lee.
At 5'11", 176 pounds, Mitchell isn't going to raise eyebrows with his size, but his explosiveness, quickness, fluidity and elusiveness make him a nightmare on bubble screens and reverses. When this kid finds open space, watch out.
Mitchell gives the Trojans the option to be creative with their play-calling, which will only make the offense more difficult to defend. Especially given Max Wittek and 2013 recruit Max Browne will be developing, Mitchell gives them an easy check-down option that can turn into a big gain.
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