Darreus Rogers Must Step Up to Replace Marqise Lee for USC Trojans

By Tyler Brett

The USC Trojans will be trying to get back on top of the Pac-12 in 2014 under new head coach Steve Sarkisian. They will be working under the last year of the NCAA scholarship restrictions but have major talent that needs to be replaced. Most notably, 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee took his talents to the NFL and will have to be replaced in the offense next season. As the Trojans gear up for the 2014 season, they’ll look to Darreus Rogers to fill that void.

Nelson Agholor will continue to be the No. 1 target for the Trojans after leading the team in receiving in 2013. When Lee went down with a knee injury, Agholor was there to pick up the slack as he paced the Trojan passing attack with 56 receptions for 918 yards and six touchdowns. But the Trojans need to have someone step up opposite Agholor to keep defenses honest.

Rogers is a perfect candidate to fill that void in 2014. As a freshman in 2013, Rogers caught 22 passes for 257 yards, good for fourth-best on the roster. With Lee and Xavier Grimble both gone for the NFL, Rogers is the second leading returning receiver this fall giving him an early edge for the vacant starting receiver job.

But he will have to earn it. Victor Blackwell and George Farmer both return with another year of experience under their belt but Blackwell has seen little playing time and Farmer can’t seem to stay healthy. The Trojans will welcome talented freshmen Adoree Jackson and John “Juju” Smith to campus this fall and each will push for playing time on each side of the ball.

When push comes to shove, however, Rogers is the best bet for the Trojans to start the 2014 season strong next fall. His experience and playmaking ability will help the Trojans start the Sark era off on the right foot.

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