By Walter Bergeson on May 31, 2014
The Trojans will be looking to start another dynasty under new head coach Steve Sarkisian. They have a lot of starters returning on both sides of the ball, but still lost several key players to the NFL Draft and graduation. If Southern Cal is going to compete for the PAC-12 title in 2014, these five players will have to play up to, or exceed, the players they're replacing.
With the departure of Silas Redd, Allen will lead a stable of backs that includes Tre Madden, Ty Isaac and Justin Davis. Allen broke out at the end of the 2013 season, scoring 12 rushing touchdowns over the last six games. If he can establish himself as the lead back in 2014, that will help USC find an identity on offense, something that was lacking last season.
The redshirt senior will take over as the top tight end following the departure of Xavier Grimble. Telfer has scored 10 touchdowns in 22 starts during his career at USC, and he will need to be a consistent target over the middle of the field for USC's passing game to flourish.
Williams' 13.5 tackles for a loss in 2013 helped place him at or near the top of most 2015 mock drafts. With Morgan Breslin and Devon Kennard no longer lining up next to Williams on the defensive line, he will need to live up to his preseason hype and replace some of their production. If he draws extra attention from opposing teams, that will help free up other pass rushers as well.
Agholor established himself as a legitimate threat opposite of Marquis Lee in 2013. With Lee now playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Agholor has had the torch passed to him as the team's top wideout. If he can put up similar numbers to the school's previous top receivers, he will easily be an All-American.
Tuerk has already started at guard and tackle in his first two seasons with the Trojans, and now he will likely be called on to replace All-Conference center Marcus Martin. As one of the veterans on the offensive line, Tuerk will play a pivotal role in establishing the running game and protecting the quarterback.
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