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USC Football: Meet the Trojans' New Starters for 2013

Rick McMahanSenior Writer IAugust 27, 2013

USC Football: Meet the Trojans' New Starters for 2013

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    In what will certainly be a "make-or-break year" for Trojan head coach Lane Kiffin, USC enters the 2013 season with high hopes and a lot of questions.

    Among those queries will be how the new quarterback performs, whether or not new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast can get the Trojans to buy in to his new 5-2 defensive scheme and whether or not All-American wide receiver Marqise Lee can follow up his record-setting 2012 season with an even better one in 2013.

    And while the fanbase is pondering that, it will be introduced to a variety of new starters which the Trojans hope will help lead USC to bounce back season after a disappointing 7-6 effort last year.

    The Trojans have just released their depth chart (as reported by Garry Paskwietz of ESPN) for the Hawaii game, and indeed, there are a bevy of new starters who will be making their debut for the Cardinal and Gold.

    This slideshow will introduce you to those new faces who hope to return USC to glory in 2013.

    And without further delay, there they are.

     

    Note: Recruiting stats and information provided by Scout.com.

Kris Albarado

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    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 180 lbs.

    Position: Punter

    Player Replacing: Kyle Negrete

    Kris Alabarado came to the Trojans as a highly decorated punter in the class of 2011 from Lake Charles, Louisiana.

    Now in 2013, Albarado will be asked to replace Kyle Negrete, who turned into a very consistent punter for USC for the last couple of years.

    In a position that most Trojan fans hope won't be utilized much, Albarado has the talent to get the job done if needed.

Devon Kennard

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 255 lbs.

    Position: Outside Linebacker

    Player Replacing: Wes Horton

    In reality, Trojan outside linebacker Devon Kennard isn't really replacing Horton because they played in two different defensive schemes.

    Nonetheless, Kennard will be coming off of the edge in a position that closely approximates the responsibilities that Horton assumed last year.

    Finally healthy, Kennard will be counted on to provide containment on the outside along with fellow linebacker Morgan Breslin.

Kevon Seymour

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    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 175 lbs.

    Position: Cornerback

    Player Replacing: Nickell Robey

    In a unit that has caused much worry for the fanbase, cornerback Kevon Seymour is probably the best the Trojans have to offer in 2013.

    Replacing Nickell Robey won't be easy, but Seymour has the talent to do just that and should become more reliable as he gains experience.

Dion Bailey

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    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 205 lbs.

    Position: Free Safety

    Player Replacing: T.J. McDonald

    Locked in a starting position battle with Josh Shaw and Demetrius Wright, I am going to go out on a limb and tab Bailey as the starter for the safety position.

    Returning to the position he was recruited for, Bailey has spent the last two seasons as a very reliable outside linebacker in the former 4-3 defensive scheme the Trojans ran in the past.

    Now lighter and more mobile, Bailey will assume the starting spot, and he will bring a more physical presence than Jawanza Starling brought in 2012.

Su'a Cravens

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 210 lbs.

    Position: Strong Safety

    Player Replacing: Jawanza Starling

    In a small 2013 recruiting class that was big on quality, strong safety Su'a Cravens might be the best of them all.

    With only the benefit of two practice camps, Cravens has thrust himself for consideration as the starting strong safety for the Hawaii game.

    Incredibly athletic and cerebral to boot, this Scout.com 5-star athlete will be a star for the Trojans until he takes his considerable game to the NFL, and you can be sure of that.

Leon McQuay III

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 200 lbs.

    Position: Strong Safety

    Player Replacing: Jawanza Starling

    Can a true freshman step in and be effective for USC at the strong safety position? That is the question confronting Leon McQuay III, who has turned heads in both the spring and fall practice camps.

    Supremely athletic and possessing great instincts, McQuay has everything going for him but experience.

    Keep an eye on this Scout.com 4-star prospect because big things will be expected of him in 2013.

     

Chad Wheeler

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 290 lbs.

    Position: Left Tackle

    Player Replacing: Aundrey Walker

    Though only a Scout.com 3-star prospect coming out of high school, Chad Wheeler has had a meteoric rise since he arrived on USC's campus as part of the 2012 class.

    After spending his freshman year as a redshirt, the hard working Wheeler bulked himself up and now finds himself as the starting left tackle for the Trojans, and by all accounts, he is a damn good one.

    Having relegated former starter Aundrey Walker to second-string status, the future looks very bright for the Santa Monica (Santa Monica, Ca.) High School product.

Max Tuerk

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    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 290 lbs.

    Position: Left Guard

    Player Replacing: Marcus Martin

    In a reshuffled offensive line, another new starter is big Max Tuerk, a player who is probably good enough to start anywhere along the line but will be most valuable taking over for Marcus Martin, who is sliding over to the center sport where he will replace the now-departed Khaled Holmes.

    In 2013, the 4-star Scout.com prospect will be the missing piece for an offensive line that has a lot of talent but just as much to prove on the field of play.

Nelson Agholor

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    Height: 6'0"

    Weight; 190 lbs.

    Position: Wide receiver

    Player Replacing: Robert Woods

    While no one could truly replace record-holding wide receiver Robert Woods, USC has a guy in Nelson Agholor who could be just as good.

    Agholor has been nothing but money in both 2013 camps, and the former 4-star Scout.com prospect is giving fans of the program hope that there won't be much of a drop-off at the position in 2013.

    With All-American wide receiver Marqise Lee expected to draw extra attention from opposing defenses, expect Agholor to really shine this season.

Cody Kessler

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 225 lbs.

    Position: Quarterback

    Player Replacing: Matt Barkley

    Not only is Cody Kessler attempting to replace a legend in Matt Barkley, he must do it with fellow redshirt sophomore Max Wittek breathing down his neck.

    However, if both the spring and fall practice camps are any indication, the former Scout.com 4-star prospect is more than ready.

    Possessing a good arm and above-average mobility, Kessler's greatest strength may be his steadiness in the pocket and ability to make good decisions.

Max Wittek

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 235 lbs.

    Position: Quarterback

    Player Replacing: Matt Barkley

    It will take a while for Max Wittek to get back in the good graces of Trojan fans after last year's horrible Sun Bowl performance, but the good news for Wittek is that he has the tools to do just that.

    Possessing prototypical quarterback size, the former Scout.com 4-star player has just what one looks for in a gun-slinger including a cannon for an arm.

    Can Wittek make people forget Matt Barkley and carve his own legend in USC lore?

    Time will tell.

Conclusion

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    If things go right, USC can once again return to college football's elite in 2013.

    Blessed with a good combination of youth and experience, the Trojans have the talent to make noise in the Pac-12 conference this year if they can stay healthy and the new starters perform.

    Now is the time for the new starters to prove they have earned Lane Kiffin's faith in making them first-string players.

    If they don't, it promises to be a long year for the men of Troy.

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