USC Football: Bold Predictions for Trojans' 2013 Recruiting Class
Sure, the school didn't land everybody it wanted and a few recruits decommitted, but this group of kids is still better than most of the classes out there.
With the lack of depth on the current roster and the overwhelming talent level of the young recruits, expectations are high for these players who are just months removed from high school.
So what are the expectations for the 2013 Trojans recruiting class?
Well, I see a diamond in the rough on the offensive side of the ball, a couple of defensive players who will shine immediately and a quarterback who is going to pan out just fine during his true-freshman year.
Let's take a look at some bold predictions for USC's newest recruiting class.
Ty Isaac Has Most Receiving Touchdowns from a Non-WR
Ty Isaac will be given his chance to compete with the running back depth that USC has to offer. But as long as everybody stays healthy and Tre Madden is completely recovered from last year’s injury, there may not be enough room for Isaac to receive carries in the backfield.
Don't think that is going to prevent this kid from contributing in a big way, however.
While everybody is amazed how somebody at 6'2", 215 pounds is so athletic and elusive in the open field, I see opportunities for Isaac to catch the football. This kid has great hands for someone who plays the running back position, and he has the frame to create mismatches with defenders.
Isaac could slip out of the backfield on check-down plays and even line up in the slot once in a while.
There are going to be chances for the 4-star recruit to get on the field this season. With his sure hands and ability to pick up yards after the catch, he will finish the season with more touchdowns than any other running back or tight end on the USC roster.
Kenny Bigelow Has a Similar Freshman Year to Leonard Williams
Defensive linemen as athletic as Kenny Bigelow do not grow on trees. Listed at 6'3", 297 pounds, Bigelow was able to play linebacker, defensive end, defensive tackle and even tight end at the high-school level.
Despite his big frame, Bigelow fires out of his stance and usually finds himself in the backfield wrapping up either the running back or quarterback. His change of direction and ability to shoot the crease are impressive and result in many tackles for loss.
The 5-star recruit can also hold his own against the run, as he is well built and uses his strength to fill up the gaps and demand double teams.
USC is deep along the defensive line and will provide company for Bigelow early on, but it is only a matter of time before he locks down some serious playing time or even secures a starting spot.
The Trojans received a highly productive freshman season from Leonard Williams a year ago, and I would say Bigelow has the skill set to be just as great in his first season on the field.
Steven Mitchell Becomes a Household Name by the End of the Year
With Robert Woods making a name for himself in the NFL combine, USC only has one sure starter at the wide receiver position.
Of course that starter is Marqise Lee, who is easily the best wideout in all of college football. Besides Lee, USC has potential in certain guys, but almost none of them have proven enough in their careers to be taken seriously at this point.
Guys such as De'Von Flournoy, Victor Blackwell and George Farmer all need to step their game up to make a move up the depth chart. This is why I think Steven Mitchell has the chance to emerge from the pack and become a playmaking receiver for the Trojans.
At 5'10", Mitchell isn't the biggest receiver in the world, but he is versatile and has terrific hands. Quietly drawing comparisons to Percy Harvin, the 4-star recruit has quick feet and can change directions with the best of them. He runs solid routes at this point in his career and can make guys miss once he has secured the catch.
USC saw Nelson Agholor come on late in the year in 2012, but Mitchell has the ability and will be given the opportunity to make a bigger impact in his freshman season.
Su'a Cravens Leads the Team in Tackles as a True-Freshman
USC has two vacant safety spots at the moment, and don't be surprised when Su'a Cravens takes one of them. Already on the USC campus and one of the guys you should be paying attention to this spring, he will win the trust of the coaching staff in no time.
Cravens is one of the few high school players that you can throw onto the field immediately, and he won't let you down. His football IQ is off the charts, and his ability to do everything well is the reason he was arguably the highest-recruited player for the Trojans.
His ball skills make him dangerous in pass coverage, but it is his instincts that make him a complete player. His ability to break down a play and react quickly is what separates him from the rest of his peers.
It has been the players who react quickly and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty that have led the Trojans in tackles the last few years. T.J. McDonald and Dion Bailey have held down the fort the last three seasons.
As long as this trend continues, Cravens will have one of the best freshman seasons for USC in recent memory.
Max Browne Is Starting Week One of the 2013 Season
USC has an open quarterback competition, and Max Browne will be given the chance to start as a true freshman.
Considered by many to be the top quarterback recruit of the 2013 class, the 5-star signal-caller has everything you look for in an elite player at the position. From his arm strength to his accuracy, Browne is really the complete package. You rarely see him make a bad read with the football, and he is somebody who doesn't get rattled easily.
He isn't as athletic as some of the other guys on the depth chart, but if that is his only downfall, who is complaining?
Max Wittek was shaky at best last year in limited playing time, and if Cody Kessler still can't receive any love, you wonder if he will ever be given a real shot to play.
It won't be easy for Browne to start as a true freshman. After all, he must bulk up a bit, and making the transition from high school isn't something that is done overnight.
But with the pressure to win now and inexperienced quarterbacks as competition, Browne has a great chance to suit up when the Trojans take that trip to Aloha Stadium.
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