2009 USC Preview: Wide Receivers

Brian WagnerCorrespondent IJune 24, 2009

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Damian Williams #18 of the USC Trojans celebrates a touchdown at the end of the first half against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the 95th Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi on January 1, 2009 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The wide receiver position at Southern California is yet another stocked one.

They are losing a total of one wide receiver from last season in current Miami Dolphins WR Patrick Turner. (except for Vidal Hazleton who transferred to Cincinnati in December)

Since the departure of greats like Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith in 2006, many critics have argued that the WR class at USC is one of the weaker position groups of their squad. But 2009 might be a different story.

USC brings back redshirt (RS) junior Damian Williams, who broke out in last year’s Rose Bowl. He had career-highs 10 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown versus Penn State while absolutely tearing up the Nittany Lions defense.

Williams is a sure-fire All-American candidate at the flanker position, including preseason nominees. His rare combination of size, speed, and fluidity are the reasons he anchors this wide receiver group.

Another great wideout returning to the Trojans this year is fellow junior Ronald Johnson. The speedster, who plays as the starting split-end, had a very successful season in 2008, running down 570 yards with eight touchdowns.

Many a time last season, Mark Sanchez would just throw up the ball and ROJO—as he his sometimes called—would simply run it down. Touchdown.

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After Williams and Johnson, two clear-cut starters, there seems to be many candidates for that third spot. RS Freshman Brice Butler is really coming into his own and had a spectacular spring a few months ago. He is indubitably a rising star for the Trojans and will be seen a lot in the coming years. If not this season.

Another fast-rising player is former transfer student Jordan Cameron, who will also be a RS junior in the fall. His size (6’5”) and athleticism (4.4 40-yard dash and 40" vertical) are great attributes that will give him ample amounts of opportunities to strut his stuff, so to speak, this season

Two other receivers that will definitely get their share of playing time in the coming season are the athletic David Ausberry and the quick Brandon Carswell. Ausberry will also be a RS junior in the fall, while Carswell will be a RS sophomore. Both will see a lot of time, Carswell especially in special teams. Ausberry will remain a huge threat with his size and strength. You can count on him grabbing a few TDs from new quarterback Aaron Corp.

USC seems to be stocked in so many positions. And this wide receivers group is no different.

With a new and inexperienced quarterback, this experienced squad will be very important in determining the fate of the 2009 Trojans.

With a probable All-American in Williams and a speed burner in Johnson, look for the USC Trojans wide receivers to make big splashes this season.

Some splashes have already been made. The Sporting News ranked the Trojans wide receiver group No. 3 in the country in their summer college football preview. Not bad for a group with no seniors, eh?

While a stable backfield and a great running game dominate Troy (they are called Tailback U), a great group of wide receivers will help initiate a solid passing game. A duel-power offense of running and passing will once again be a main factor in USC’s success in 2009.

Get ready for an eight consecutive Pac-10 title, eight consecutive BCS bowl bid and an eight consecutive 11-win season. All NCAA records.

Hopefully, this year will end in Pasadena on Jan. 8—the BCS National Championship Game.

See the connection of No. 8? That is also Ronald Johnson’s number…No. 8 just might be the team’s main number this season.

This group will be a major factor in leading them to their destination.

Projected Starters: Damian Williams, Ronald Johnson, David Ausberry

Reserves: Brice Butler, Jordan Cameron, Travon Patterson, Brandon Carswell, Drew Ness, Joe Gibson, Scott Stephens, Sean Calcagnie, Robbie Boyer, Spencer Vigoren, Preston Cavignac

Recruits: De’Von Flournoy

This is part of the USC Trojans preview. Part one can be found here:

USC Preview: Linebackers

Brian Wagner is a Staff Writer at Most Valuable Network. 

This was originally written for The Purple Trojan

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