Most of my fantasy life I have avoided the USC program when obtaining fantasy prospects. It was not because they had physical limitations or even had off the field issues. It was because I felt these players were glamor players and not team minded. “Stuck up” is the way I viewed most of their players coming into the pros. Players that are a little too lazy or a little too concerned about the professional athlete lifestyle instead of the really putting that time into the game. As I watched the spring Saturday game for the University of Southern California, I noticed a difference compared to years past. It does seem like there is more urgency and simply more hard work going on than in the past.
The day that I observed the Saturday Spring game for USC, they seemed to be working on a lot of gadget plays. End-a-rounds and half back passes, with one going to the end zone for a drop! One of the major hurdles for them going into 2017 is the younger wideouts and offensive line. While watching I noticed that the offensive line starters seemed to be on the field more than would be expected at a Spring game because there are only 6-7 out there. They will be bringing in 3 freshman offensive linemen to see if they can get back on track.
USC QB Jack Sears saw a lot of the field on this day. The Devy QB darling Sam Darnold played sparingly and looked just right in the pro-style system at USC. Darnold looks like Biff from “Back To The Future, ” and if he leaves Marty Mcfly alone and keeps up the good work, he could be the best QB coming into next year’s NFL draft.
As for the wideouts, the one that intrigued me out there today was #21 Tyler Vaughns, a 6’2” 180 lb. redshirt freshman from Pasadena, California. He made a splash play on a TD by catching it over a defender’s head and falling backward into the end zone.
Now, let’s get to the real reason I watch and care about spring football, DEFENSE!!!!!!
Porter Gustin & Cam Smith, these are two names I want to highlight.
Porter Gustin, who recorded 68 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss last year is a 6’5” 260 lb. outside linebacker (for now) and showed great get off and caused disruptions in the backfield. He is going to work on his stellar technique to match his violence and become a damn good pro.
Cam Smith, inside linebacker at 6’1” 245 lbs., I am saving for last because I have a man-crush on this throwback linebacker. He shoots to the hole and makes almost perfect formed tackles and really uses his instincts to play the position with strength and power. He led the Trojans in tackles in 2016 with 83 total tackles. He will have to work on his pass coverage and his read and reaction time, but I really hope he lands in the NFL with a team that can use him right away. (Because I drafted him in a couple of devy leagues!!)
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