By Nick Schaeflein @ptchr2424 on June 21, 2014
The USC Trojans just may be back to having the high-powered horses that the country has grown accustom to seeing over the past decade. Under new head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Trojans could become a sleeper contender in 2014. USC's top 11 players on both offense and defense can stack up with anyone. This year, they will also have more depth on the field and could contend within a new system. Here are five Trojans who could have breakout years.
The Pac-12 has really evolved into a high octane passing conference. Teams have acquired offensive-minded coaches and have spread out their attacks. Having good DB's to try and contain these offensives will be key for the units out west. The Trojans have sophomore Su'a Cravens at the safety position to try and shut down opposing attacks. He figures to see more playing time and is a potential All-American on the defensive side.
USC projects to have first-team All-American Leonard Williams on the D-line come the fall. Williams is a beast and a likely first-round pick in next year's NFL Draft. However, he has been held out of many spring workouts nursing an injury. In his place, junior Claude Pelon has emerged as a potential solid defender. With Williams figuring to see a ton of double teams, look for Pelon to have a big year within the trenches for USC.
In the backfield, both Javorius Allen and Tre Madden figure to get a ton of carries in 2014. Both juniors recorded over 700 yards last year. In a new system, Madden just seems to fit that Bishop Sankey mold for Sarkisian. Madden emerged as a star last year, as Auburn's Tre Mason had a Heisman worthy year. Might a second Tre repeat that performance this year?
Last year, Nelson Agholor was named an All-American for his return abilities. With Marquise Lee now gone, the junior figures to have a much bigger role in the offense as now the No. 1 wide out for the Trojans. Agholor figures to excel and post big numbers in 2014. It could also possibly lead to him declaring for the draft early and hearing his name called in the first round come Draft Day.
Cody Kessler really took off in the second half of the year a season ago. The junior should be the starter from day one this year for the Trojans, and gives USC the best shot at a major bowl game under center. Kessler should also see his talents and numbers spike upward with his new head coach. Sarkisian has a history of molding top quarterbacks. With a solid cast around him, look for Kessler to really make a name for himself as a breakout star.
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